Love The Skin You're In: How Hitting My 30's Changed My Attitude

When you're in your teens and twenties, hitting the big three-oh seems like the first step towards old age. I can remember thinking that by the time I was 27 I'd have life nailed (with a home, family and husband to boot,) because at 18 that felt like a million moons in the future. Oh how wrong I was and how many curve balls life threw at me. I spent the latter part of my twenties dreading hitting my third decade, preferring to pretend I was still a teenager and lived my life in such a way that I could be mistaken for someone ten years younger. I've always been blessed with baby skin and an English Rose complexion that hid my true age, so my latter years were spent drinking cocktails and sleeping in tents with only a Pot Noodle for breakfast. Although I had a blast, my previous decade was also spent dealing with an almost crippling issue of self confidence; externally I was a happy and carefree with a sense of self unrivaled by most other women my age. However, internally I really struggled to love myself or see the positives in my uniqueness.

Although I've always been praised for having a youthful glow and pretty face, I never believed I was worth looking at for longer than a fleeting glance. I've always struggled with my weight and made the association between being slimmer and being more successful - like the size of my knickers had a direct correlation to the success I deserved and the opportunities life threw at me. When I was a teenager I put on a lot of weight, ballooning to a size twenty at my biggest and not being able to fit into the school uniform available in the regulation shop; there's nothing more embarrasing at the age of 15 than having a different skirt to the 5000 other girls in your school because they simply don't go up to your size. However, a year or two later I turned things around and slimmed down to a size ten; I couldn't be happier. I suddenly became worth talking to, worth hanging out with, worth inviting to parties and more importantly worth chatting up in a nightclub; it's like the weight I was carrying was an invisibility cloak that instantly lifted as the pounds dropped away.

My latter teenage years were spent making up for lost time, hanging around with the popular crowd and going to clubs on a school night. However, my association between my value and my appearance always stuck, leading to the next ten years being led by binge diets and blowing my early paychecks on new clothes and hair products. In my opinion, if I didn't look good, feel slim and have shiny hair then I simply wasn't worth talking to. This pattern continued for the majority of my twenties, not helped by the fact I worked in the image-obsessed beauty industry surrounded by stunning women that were about the width of one of my thighs. I can remember bouncing around after I had a horrendous case of the flu, as I'd been unable to eat for a week and dropped a dress size as a consequence. The temporary high it provided made me feel on top of the world.

In retrospect I had no idea that I was so driven by the need for acceptance and magazine-standards of beauty. It's just the way it was. However, the closer I got to 30 the more I seemed to reduce the amount of importance I placed on how I looked. Yes, we all want to look pretty and feel confident with our external appearance, but the hierarchy of importance seemed to fade away gradually to leave me feeling much more accepting of myself - flaws and all. It's a cliche but true, your thirties bring with them a more rounded sense of self and a lack of focus on things that were previously important. In the last couple of years I've put on a fair bit of podge around my tummy and bum, but I don't worry about it in the way I used to. If my hair isn't perfect, my makeup not flawless, my under-eye circles not free from grey tinges and my skin golden, then I really don't mind - because what comes out of my mouth and is in my head is far more important.

It's hard to put into words, but over the last two years my attitude has almost done a 360. I still love clothes, I still love getting my hair done and I still have an unnatural passion for makeup, but in the bigger scheme of things I'm really not worried about what people think - because I'm much happier with who I am. I used to dwell on rejection from men and think it was because I wasn't pretty enough or my bum was too big, assume my working life wasn't going to plan because my hair wasn't long enough and presume I didn't get invited out to an event because I just wasn't cool enough; a few years on and I couldn't give a rat's arse and my previous attitude seems ridiculous. We all have down days, podge days and bad hair days, but being slightly older has enabled me to care less when it comes to the bigger picture; it's like a switch flicks the morning after your thirtieth birthday and you feel all the years before were spent worrying over nothing.

I'm an intelligent, opinionated and successful woman, but I've been dogged by so many self-deprecating thoughts over the years that it seems like I wasted away my youth. As a soon-to-be-32-year-old I feel like I've finally found my place in the world and I've never been happier. My arse may wobble, my stomach may stick out and there may be fine lines appearing around my eyes, but I've never felt more confident. I know who I am and I've not got time for anyone who criticises me or attempts to put me down. As a blogger who's probably ten years older than your average, I know I'm no Cara Delevigne and would squash Zoella if I sat on her, but I have a lot more to offer than a big smile and shiny hair. I'm proud of what I've achieved, I have a man who adores me and friends that are incredibly supportive, so worrying about being able to fit into a size ten pair of Topshop jeans seems so trivial in comparison. There's never been a better time to be in your thirties (and forties and fifties,) so I can only give one piece of advice to any teen or twenty-something that feels worthless because of the size of their waist: stop worrying. One day you'll wake up and realise that you're awesome just the way you are.


  1. Awesome post! That's exactly how I feel, now I am 30 I am more comfortable in my skin, although I have been slim for most of my life, I have put on a lot weight after I had my kids, and in my 20's used that as an excuse to why things weren't going my way in life. I am working hard to getting back to my former size but that is not the be all and end all, I am happy now, and appreciating what I have now rather than waiting to be happy, when I am my own ideal weight.

  2. Lovely honest post! and i agree, ill be approaching the 3-0 in three years time and already freaking but it all comes down to loving yourself, being yourself and enjoying every day.

    Yas x

  3. Anonymous3.9.14

    This post really has made my day and smile as I am having a bit of a tough time lately.

  4. What a fabulous post Hayley - sometimes I think it takes a long time to 'grow into yourself' - until you know your head self, you don't really know what to do with the body self. Blogging is one of the most difficult places to keep your self-esteem - if there was ever a perfect recipe for shattering confidence, beauty blogging and its surrounding environs is it! Shaking off worries about looks and body size or shape does get easier as you get older, even though the beauty industry thinks ageing is something that needs 'curing'! But, it never goes away completely, so I think you carry your worry DNA through your life. What does change though is confidence, and self-knowledge - the latter you can't possibly have until you've done your time! I'm an older blogger too, but the beauty industry is suddenly waking up to the fact that youth and beauty aren't related - you can be in any phase of your beauty life and still feel a million dollars.

    I love this post... it's so honest and open and also addresses the changing landscape of beauty. xx

  5. Love this. And very very true. I feel much more confident and secure in myself now than I did when I was younger (and a bit thinner!) Looking back I had no reason to feel insecure but think that as you get older your priorities change and how you perceive yourself changes. x

  6. I found here thru Twitter... I'm glad I did. Such a powerful post. I got sick with anorexia in my mid thirties. Yep, not only teens do that. Now I just hit 40 - the truth - and I'm trying to learn to love a healthier body image.

  7. lovely post and soo true so glad you posted this!


  8. A very honest post about your feelings. Sometimes it can take a lifetime to fully like who we are and the way we see ourselves. I am in my mid 30's and still do not have much confidence about myself and the way I look. We just have to find a way to get it into our heads that we are who we are and should embrace all that we have and be greatful for what we have.

  9. I completely agree with you. I spent my teenage years and most of my 20's pretty much crippled by self-confidence issues and unable to push myself to do the things I actually wanted to do. Probably from about my mid-20's things started to change and once I hit my 30's I was pretty much a different person. I'm 32 now and am definitely the most confident I've ever been. I'm also now doing the sort of thing I've always really wanted to do with my life x

    Becky @ The Little Blog of Beauty

  10. Absolutely love your post. Honest and very true. I really look forward to reading more.

  11. Such a fab post and one I could have written myself. Having big boobs has always been an issue for me and one that stood me out from my crowd of friends at school. Feeling uncomfortable when doing any kind of sport from year 8 onwards made me want to run and hide. I could never wear cropped tops that showed off my near perfect midriff, I looked daft. Now in my 30s it is still a learning curve, let's face it there isn't much out there by way if pretty lingerie if your bigger than the average DD+ and if there is chances are it is 5 times the price! So whilst I'm still not totally happy with what I was blessed with, I am learning to accept it (or they) are part of who I am meant to me x

  12. I love beauty blogs like this, i hope they would cater toward the male market aswel


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