Becky says things about … getting old

If you look very carefully in most dictionaries, darling Listener, you shall see that the definition of ‘annoying’ is thus:

someone younger than you complaining that they are getting old

I would like to test this definition with the following announcement:

It will be interesting to see whether that has annoyed my listeners who are older than 29 or if


Oh ruddy heck, that was harsh. You could have just asked me to be quiet, Listeners-older-than-29. That would have sufficed.

It remains a fact that being 29 brings with it a plethora of factors that work together to result in us 29 year-olds feeling OLD. These factors are, in no particular order:

  • Telling someone how old you are and receiving the following response accompanied by a playful shoulder nudge:


There is only one suitable reaction to this, and on behalf of all 29 year-olds the world over, I would like to apologise for it. But my God you asked for it.


  • The undeniable presence of wrinkles. Not just those threadlike sweeps of character under our eyes, or the cute flicks of smile lines at the corners of our mouths, but deep, cavernous gorges. Frownlines like daggers that scream ‘I HAVE BEEN WORRYING ABOUT TURNING 29 FOR 29 YEARS’; that terrible moment we walk past a shop window, glance at our reflection and see the dark shadow of AGE sweeping from the inner corner of our eye and into our cheek like an unstoppable reminder of our impending and horrible death.
  • The realisation that 29 years is a long time for our bones to be holding our body together, and, as a consequence, they don’t work quite so well.




  • Being asked ‘What did you do last week?’ and, after a lengthy silence, during which we plough further depth into those frownlines, responding with ‘I have literally no idea.’
  • Where once we could spend happy hours perusing photos of our Facebook chums lying unconscious in club toilets or cartwheeling naked in the mud at Glastonbury, we are now faced with a daily barrage of engagement announcements, wedding albums, baby photos, blurry black and white photographs that make us think ‘Why would someone post a picture of the inside of a plughole?’ and then realise that it is a foetus and that, at the age of 29, it is perfectly acceptable, nay, expected, to own a foetus. Or, worst still, seeing photos of your old school chums with their four children. Because, at the age of 29, we have had more than enough time to have had four children.


  • Never ever ever ever being asked for ID when buying alcohol. And, on the rare, wonderful occasion we are asked for ID, it is quickly followed by ‘Actually, don’t worry about it.’ Why? Because they have spied our wrinkles, smelt the Deep Heat on our lower backs, and told our four children to get their hands out of the confectionery.
  • Congratulating yourself and your fellow 29-year-old chums on arranging a night out at a club where you can dance and get stupidly drunk on cheerfully-coloured shots with an indeterminate alcohol content, and then sheepishly calling each other the day of the event and making excuses like ‘I’ve just had such a knackering week at work’ or ‘I’ve got to get up early tomorrow to help my friend move house’ or ‘I just don’t have the money at the moment, the new washing machine wiped me out’ or ‘London is such a long way on the train and it’s just so busy and crowded and the club will just be so loud and we won’t be able to talk properly’, and you all end up going to the local pub for a nice comfortable chat and a sit down.


  • Sitting in said pub and observing the antics of a group of people in their early 20s whom you cannot help but label in your aged mind as youths, and becoming irritated by their noise levels, their irresponsible drinking (three shots of Sambuca each?? Who needs that?), their loud declarations of recent sexual and alcoholic conquests, and their carefree, worry-free, and wrinkle-free faces, which inspires a grumbling outburst of bitterness from your table of over-the-hill curmudgeons.


  • Realising you not only understand, but agree with, the phrase, ‘With age comes wisdom.’

It is perhaps the wisdom that makes us feel the most old; realising that we are ancient enough to not only give advice to those younger than us, but to have that advice listened to and accepted, because the youths realise that we’ve had loads of time in our 29 years to make mistakes and have experiences and must thus know exactly what we are talking about.


And at the age of 29, we are faced with the most startling piece of wisdom of all:


We have spent our lives looking up to grown-ups and thinking how wise they are and how all-knowing, and we’ve been keenly awaiting the day that the grown-up switch flicks on, when we’ll suddenly understand mortgages, or what a dividend is, or how to programme a boiler or do a cryptic crossword, and become a proper, qualified ADULT. But, our 29 years of experience of the complex and often ridiculous world of human beings have finally taught us that 99.999% of grown-up humans are simply fumbling their way through life, trying to make enormous decisions, behave responsibly and look like they know what they’re doing – when in fact they still stub their toes on bedposts, fall over whilst putting on their underwear, get nervous talking to their boss, fret over everything, and struggle with supermarket trolleys.


So, there is really only one thing for us 29 year-olds to do.

Just carry on.

Embrace our wisdom, learn how to cover up our wrinkles, accept that we can no longer sit cross-legged for an extended period of time, keep making mistakes, ignore the Facebook foetuses, persevere with the cryptic crosswords, and realise that we may just be better people than we were.

And if we’re not, then there’s still plenty of time.

93 thoughts on “Becky says things about … getting old

  1. I’m a mature student. This means I spend my days with people barely out of puberty, listening to them complain about how old they are. The other day one of them asked me “What were the 80s actually like?” I could have happily punched her in the face but my reflexes aren’t as quick as they used to be….

    1. Hahaha, I was a ‘mature’ student when I did my masters degree at the age of 27! AND I WAS ONE OF THE OLDEST!!!!
      I was only alive for half the 80s, and looking back at pictures, I’m kind of glad…. 🙂

  2. Although I am among those who should be punching you (I can remember 29 if I try hard), this post was a wonderful way to start the morning, so I will refrain. Love the humour and the insights, as always. Happy belated birthday!

  3. Man, I don’t know what it means, but cartwheeling naked through the mud in Glastonbury sounds amazing to me all of a sudden! Your 29ness totally does make me want to kick you in your vagina a little bit, Becky. Sorry for that, but it’s true.

    My last birthday, when I turned 40…take that in for a minute….40…really hit me hard for a bit. You do realize that your bones have really done a lot of work, as has your heart. Every pain could be the big one coming!

    Thankfully, I have the mental age of those youngins at the next table in the pub, so that helps a bit!

    Happy Birthday, kiddo!

    1. Cartwheeling naked in the mud at Glastonbury is something I never did… but that’s not to say I won’t regress when I hit 40…

      And apparently 40 is the new 20, so congratulations!

      Thanks dude 🙂

  4. Draw this: Cute, cute 47-ish yr. old doctor-doctor explaining and then soliciting BOTOX injections to cute, cute me-me past-past 29-29 yrs. old me-me so long ago can’t remember when 29-29 was-was.
    What is this? Doublespeak?
    No….punch-punch cute, cute doctor-doctor.
    Twice. Twice.

  5. Happy birthday! Despite your empty complaints and dire predictions for certain ruination, things are about to get much more interesting for you.

    Loss of memory is an excellent defense mechanism. My favorite! Your mind is NOT deteriorating. It’s becoming more selective with what it retains.

    Anyone who has four children at age 29 has missed out on life, in my humble opinion.

    1. More selective with what it retains??? THAT IS BRILLIANT!! I’m not LOSING my mind, I’m simply OVER-FILLING it!!! You’re amazing, thank you for putting my incredibly full mind at rest.
      And four children at 29? NO THANK YOU.
      Cheers dude 🙂

  6. I’m gonna be 44, and I’m still in doubt that I’m a proper, qualified adult…I thought I’d get an announcement or something – ya know, like you know you actually were graduating for high school or college b/c you see your name on the list of graduating students…I got nothing.

    And this is how I often viewed my life

    Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
    You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
    And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
    No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

    1. Christ, that’s alarmingly close to the bone, and may be my new favourite song.
      And do you mean to tell me the announcement never comes? Oh, bloody hell. I’ll have to just fumble along by myself. Sigh.

      1. If you think that song hits close to the bone now, just wait until you listen to it after smoking a big fatty. It becomes a personal hand-written letter that Pink Floyd penned just for your and your desperate situation. Cheers.

  7. As someone who laughs when I hear a 29 year old say they are getting older, one has to realize it is all relative. Like when a skinny person says am getting fat! enjoyed reading this and wait till 40+ comes along!

  8. Oh, my friend, I know every one of those factors well, and I’m right there with you. Actually, that’s not true, I’m disgustingly ahead of you – I turned 31 this month. 31!!! I’m in my 30s !!! The horror. And I still can’t figure out those cryptic crosswords.

      AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMB!! Glad you recognise what I’m talking about… otherwise I would’ve thought I was SERIOUSLY old before my time.

  9. And as a just-turned 33-year old, I hate to admit, but it doesn’t change when you hit that big 3-0! I’m still trying to figure out when the ADULT switch is going to get turned on… harumph 😉
    Great post, good giggle to start my weekend (in which I go to bed at 21:30 tonight and get up early for a race tomorrow, HA!)

  10. As a “Listener-older-than-29” I can tell you that life starts getting good at 38. Just sayin’. But all that you say here brings me back to 30-32. If one more smug married tried to set me up or make me feel small I was gonna lose it!

    1. Urgh, I HATE smug marrieds!! I got the pity talk from my mum the other day: ‘I’d just like to see you settle down Becky, I mean you ARE nearly 30.’
      Punching one’s mother in the face is not cool, but sometimes necessary.
      Looking forward to 38 🙂

  11. Happy Belated Birthday…or should I say Unhappy?! =( I feel your pain. I still can’t believe 30 is a few years away. How was I once 18, and now I’M NOT?! If anything, I feel more dumb than when I was younger. Can’t imagine how few brain cells I’ll have when I hit 30s and 40s. Oh the horror.

  12. Ugh, I was just telling someone the other day that I can’t be bothered with going out anymore. I used to love getting dressed up, drinking a ton, and staying up all night. Now I just want to put on sweats and watch Murder She Wrote while eating something that’ll put me in an early grave.

    1. Oh my God, that sounds like the best evening ever. The other Saturday night I decided not to go to the pub. Instead, I went to the launderette, came home and ate a box of chocolates and drank tea in front of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. Best Saturday for ages.

  13. All of it’s true and more, Becky! I’m not even going to tell you how old I am. That will happen. Gee, I don’t know. I forget. Oh, I know…I’m 29. I’m 29 now and forever! And, I know nothing, nothing!! The longer you live the less you know. It’s so hard to go out, isn’t it? I enjoy a movie now, curled up in a blanket.

    1. ‘The longer you live the less you know.’ That sounds like a Rolling Stones song 🙂
      I’ve decided I’m going to be 29 forever as well. Or I might start miraculously slipping back to 26…

  14. Well, happy birthday! But just want to tell you I thought age 29/30 was the best time ever!! You aren’t so young (esp. in career) that people think you are unwise and unknowing. You have lived and learned by now. But you are certainly not too old! And hope this makes you feel better but as someone over 40, I still get carded when I buy wine. I still think I look ok. Nothing on my body creaks and hurts or can’t be used. You just have to take care of yourself. Keep thinking like a youngster and perhaps you’ll stay that way for a long long time!

  15. yes, sorry, no pity here my young friend. But if I were to mention how horrendously old I am, I’d get punched by all the 44+s out there. So. Know that you’re NOT OLD. Though you seem to think and assess more than most, so thinking you’re wise beyond those 29 years!

    Now for the food portion of my comment: We’re having lettuce and carrots today because your metabolism is going to start slowing horribly down in another 8 years. (bahahahaha, just kidding. not about the metabolism thing, but about the carrots and lettuce. Here, have a Sonic Screwdriver (you did read about the SS, yes?) and some hot buttered rum rice krispie bars 😀 )

    1. OH GOD MY METABOLISM!!!! I forgot about my metabolism!! It’s true that at 30 it just stops, right? Which means I have to eat solidly for an entire year just to get in all the food I won’t be able to eat after 30. Which also means I’ll be getting me some of those rum rice krispie bars WHICH SOUND INCREDIBLE. 🙂

  16. You ARE so wise, Becky, and if I become anywhere NEAR as cool as you over the next 5 years, my life will end on a happy note! (Because, yea, it’ll be over after 30.*runs for shelter*)

    1. I am torn between hugging you for saying I’m cool (no one has EVER called me cool!) and punch you in the face for being 5 years younger than me.
      I’m kind of doing both in my mind. Hope that’s okay 🙂

  17. I turned 30 in December and basically spent the last year of my 20’s dreading it and bitching about it. Now I am 30, I am still bitching about it. I can relate to every word in this post. Except apparently I am old now 😦

  18. Getting old is much better than the alternative! Just think one day when someone says “I just turned 29 and I’m getting so old”, you’ll be able to laugh and say, I have liver spots older than you my dear!

  19. What I love is when people ask my age, then wink “29 right?” Haha, yeah, I can’t admit my age because woman! I am 37, but no idea how I got here, and I’m no more grown up even though I am married w/ kids and a job and all that crap. Of course I still get people who think I look much younger than I am – okay mostly elderly people, but I take what I can get.

    1. I’m unfathomably relieved that marriage/kids don’t make people more grown up. I know a few people who are so grown up it’s almost painful to watch (these people are few and far between), and I actually hope I never reach that stage when I plan my evening around monitoring my savings account and making my own pasta. Urgh.

  20. Happy belated birthday, fellow Capricorn!!! 29 was a good year for me, as I recall. But I actually liked turning 30. I felt like it gave me more street cred somehow. However, the more street cred you have, the more aches and pains, the less patience, the more fatigue, the less energy, the more you’ll say “I’m too old for this shit.” I just turned 46. Sometimes it’s all I can do to leave the house without pulling or straining something. Still, I’m much less of a hot mess than I was 20 years ago, so I’ve got that going for me.

    1. Woooo, fellow Capricorn!! Happy belated birthday to you!
      I hope I have street cred when I’m 30. SOMETHING has to make up for the aches, pains, fatigue OH GOD IT SOUNDS AWFUL.
      But knowing there are 46 year olds as cool as you gives me HOPE. 🙂

  21. I read this and I totally identify with what you are saying…except I am 38!! Chill my dear, you have another 9 years before you have as many grey hairs as me!!

    1. My wife is Cimmorene is 44 and she remarkably has none that I can see. She probably got that genetics from her father, who is over 70 and has very few grey hairs.

      Nevertheless, she, her mother, my daughter, and the last hair stylist all noticed grey hairs on me. Not just my beard, but my head. And my body. And I’m 39. But Cimmy, being so sweet, she calls my grey hairs on my head my “silver crown”. And the hair stylist said they looked like highlights. (Yeah hun, nice save there, hehe.)

  22. I’m 25 and I’m antique. Hope that didn’t annoy you to much!AND I’m turning grey already. So you say this will only get worse?

    1. YES. It will get TERRIBLE.
      I don’t think you’re antique just yet, but if you search on Ebay for any of the toys you played with as a child, you may well find that they are on there labelled as ‘retro’ and ‘vintage’. Most of the toys from my childhood are labelled as such. I do not approve.

  23. I’m almost 30. Sometimes my (barely) 25 year old husband mentions something from his childhood and, if I don’t get the reference, unironically attributes it to ‘my generation’. Violence sometimes ensues.

  24. You could have just asked me to be quiet, Listeners-older-than-29.

    Just be quiet, Becky. Dost that suffice thee? Hehe.

    Becky, my second sister was rubbing her hands gleefully last August, so certain that I was turning 40. Then my baby sister told her nope, that would be in 2014. So she is plotting and scheming much laughter at my expense, and… well, actually, there is the local gaming/SF/fantasy/geek etc. convention in 20 days, so maybe she will be plotting and scheming after that.

      1. You’re welcome, but my Mom told me it wasn’t nice to hit girls 😉

        Yeah, I agree… it had better be good, like delightfully gothy or something deliciously hilarious like that.

  25. I turn 31 next week, and have been calling young twentysomethings “youths” for nigh on a decade. It’s less about feeling old, I think, and more about the niggling doubt about where the last 30 years went, like being unable to remember where you set down the car keys.

    There are, however, unexplainable aches and pains after 30. It makes absolutely no sense.

  26. At my age I rarely even crawl to the pub! I remember being excited about turning 25 and then someone told me, Oh, you’ve made it through a quarter century. Took the luster right off.

  27. I know something about this; I turned 29 exactly two months ago. But it’s not all bad; I’m starting to appreciate the ‘better things in life’. Finally it’s okay for me to drink wine rather than vodka shots (though it’s still jaegerbombs with my work mates…), my heavily-mortgaged London home does not cause sneering anymore but quiet envy…
    …I’m out of more positives for now.

  28. Yes Becky, as a almost forty year-old I think I hate you just a little bit. Fortunately your comments are so spot on, I will forgive you for making me feel like a relic! WHERE’S YOUR MIND CHILD! Oh and another thing, maybe being in a stable, healthy relationship should be the requirement for having kids and a specific age…Just saying…Besides taking the average, you have more years in front of you than behind.

  29. Becky, happy (very) belated birthday! I’m turning 29 next year, and it’s freaking me out, along with the Facebook foetuses. That said, I pretty much still party like a nut job, but at least 29 will give my liver a break…

  30. This is hysterical. I was JUST making an observation the other day while walking the dog about the difference between being in your 20’s and your 30s.
    While walking the dog in my 20’s, had some guy said “Beautiful dog!! And the owner isn’t bad either!” I would turned away indignantly thinking what creeps guys were and how rude.
    While walking the dog in my 30’s, when the same thing happens I think, “THANK GOD strangers still hit on me.”
    Yup. Enjoy it while it lasts, 20-somethings. It sneaks up on ya!!

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