What Happens After 36?

I write this having just got in from my 36th birthday party.

When I say “just got in”, obviously what I actually mean is I got in an hour ago, but then had to sign a mortgage deed (adult points: 1, buying a house), take my make up off (I KNOW!  I actually take my make up off now.  I am an ADULT!  Adult points: 2, am sensible individual who cares about own skin) get Piglet ready for bed and breastfeed him to sleep.

Birthday parties aren’t like they were in the old days.

And at 36, thank God for that.  I don’t think I could cope with the late nights, hangovers and drama of my younger years at this mature stage of life.  Please just let me just polish my halo of sobriety and good sense and sit on the Throne of Maturity until I ripen like a fine cheese.

I don’t think I had ever even thought about the reality of being 36 before this week.  I think I thought that at 35 I would just drop off the end of the earth and into some great cosmic dustbin marked “old age.”  The closest I had got to imagining it was that memorable episode of Sex And The City (I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, that programme has the answers to EVERYTHING) when the girls go to Atlantic City and Charlotte gets depressed about her birthday, wears a frilly high-necked blouse in the style of an uptight Victorian governess and refuses to have any kind of celebration on the grounds that she is now officially an “old maid.”

And I got to thinking….(cue self, leaning out of a Manhattan window in pensive mode, twiddling a pen and thinking about my next column, which will inevitably be based on my turbulent love life) that I am also now an old maid.  I guess we can quibble over the exact definition of the word “maid” in this context, but the fact remains, I am 36 and unmarried.  Four more years and I won’t even be able to get away with wearing a wedding dress, to quote the brilliant but depressing Enid “when you get to 50, there is a very tiny pool of available men.  A wading pool actually, and you are swimming IN MY WADING POOL!” another of SATC’s great characters.

I don’t agree with Enid, of course.  I happen to think that women over 40 can look great in wedding dresses.  I could add the caveat that it depends on the dress, but this is surely true at any age, and anyway, who cares if you look good.  It’s your wedding, wear what the hell you want!

So, as Carrie asks the roulette board at the end of the Atlantic City episode, what happens after 36?  It’s an unknown.  Past the zone of the under 35s and into a whole different box.  I am no longer considered, in political terms, a younger voter, but have passed into the realm of the old guard.  Those who can be relied upon to wallow in comfortable middle age, who no longer need to be courted by politicians chasing the youth vote and who will probably *mimes vomiting sign* vote Conservative (NEVER!  You can take away my youth, but you can never take away my FREEDOM!).

The truth is, for all my denial, I don’t feel like a youth.  I am getting a little bit rotund around the middle.  I am more interested in school catchment areas than trendy bars, and my searches on Pinterest revolve around kitchen decor ideas, rather than 101 ways to wear flicky eyeliner.

I can’t even do flicky eyeliner, and after years of living and working with smudgy bits around the corners of my eyes where I have made a feeble attempt at it, I have finally given up and embraced myself for what I am, namely someone who is utterly rubbish at make up.

So, to ask the question again; what happens after 36?

The answer is, I don’t know, but I am ready to embrace the possibilities.  And I will damn well wear a wedding dress if I like.

Probably that 80s vintage one I bought for £22 though, and which someone had thoughtfully snipped into a puffball skirted minidress.  I can’t see me buying any others anytime soon.

But then again, who knows?  No one knows what happens after 36.  It could the precipice before the plummet into the abyss, or it could be the launch pad before the take off to greatness.  Only time will tell.

A Mum Track Mind
My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

36 Comments Add yours

  1. I hate being in my 30’s. HATE it. So I have no advice or comforting words other than to say I really enjoyed reading this, and you can wear a wedding dress aged 101 if you bloody well want to. #triballove

    1. Min says:

      Absolutely. Thank you for commenting! x

  2. Beta Mummy says:

    Nah, 40 is the new 30, and all that. I know quite a few people who’ve got married in their late thirties or later, and they all rocked a “proper” wedding.
    You never know what’s around the corner…but also, I don’t know why there’s such a fixation on getting married, in any case.
    Love the sound of your 80’s wedding dress, though! 😉

    1. Min says:

      Yep, I’m definitely subscribing to that. Although to be honest I like living at a more sedate pace these days. I had many, many years of partying and definitely feel no need to act younger. I don’t understand the fixation on marriage either, but it’s definitely there and I have definitely felt it. Out of all my friends I’m probably the one who was most obsessed with getting married, but yet here I am, still single!

  3. I’m 35 – just – and it’s good to know that at 36 I will start taking my makeup off before bed rather than all over the pillows ? I have to say tho as someone who has been in the same relationship since I was 17! I think marriage is over rated but I do also think that you can wear a wedding dress at any age in fact I don’t buy into all this dressing for your age nonsense, dress for you. If you want to wear your 80’s wedding dress (which sounds amazing btw) at the age of 60, do it! And I’ll be you 59 year old bridesmaid in a day glo rara skirt!!!

    1. Min says:

      Haha, that was a bit of a bold claim I think. I do still have make-up stained pillows, but I do make a token effort to take it off now, rather than just thinking screw it, I’ll take it off in the morning! I agree about wedding dresses-that was a quote from Sex and the City about wearing one over 40. The 80s wedding dress is amazing. I feel like Madonna in the Like a Virgin video in it!

  4. Themotherhub says:

    I love being in my late thirties ! Am 37 so have had one whole year of after 36. Finally learning not to give a flying and I think I look better than I have done in ages ! #fortheloveofblog

    1. Min says:

      Glad to hear it. Lovely to hear some positive stories about being over 36!

  5. Whatever age you are, there is always hope ? I am still trying to convince Grumpy Boyfriend to marry me. Now that Brexit is over, done and dusted, I might have a chance so that I don’t get fired from the UK! #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! You’re right, there’s always hope. And looking forward to hearing that Grumpy Boyfriend has proposed!

  6. flying solo says:

    I am 41 so am pretty qualified to answer this one, life after 36 is bloody brilliant! I have been single since I was 37 and have had a great 4 years, I’m always happier single than I ever am in a relationship. I have already had 2 divorces but if I was stupid enough to have another wedding I would wear what the hell I wanted! Probably my PJ’s to be honest as I definitely prefer comfort in my 40’s. I was looking forward to being 40 and have loved it, I do what I want, I eat what I want , I drink what I want, I go where I want, with who I want. My kids are now 16 & 20 and so they look after themselves (although that has been pretty consistent since they were old enough to walk and feed themselves, ha ha ) The best bit is once your 40 you somehow think you have a super power to suddenly say what your thinking no matter how much it might offend people. I have kind of always been a bit like that anyway but definitely once I reached 40 it was a no hold back policy. I am also on the menopause so I use that as my excuse that I no longer have a filter and that I eat more because my hormones make me. I can rarely be arsed to wear make up these days it’s far too much faff and with hot fluses it would just melt off my face anyway so always have clean pillows! #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. Min says:

      What a lovely positive comment! I’m looking forward to saying what I think-although that could be a dangerous game at times!

  7. I turn 30 soon and have thinking about many of things as well. It can feel kind of weird becoming a responsible adult and figuring out what that means to you and how it changes your lifestyle. I think you just have to take it in stride and treat it as a new adventure. #TribalLove

    1. Min says:

      Yes-turning 30 definitely felt like a milestone, when you become a “real adult.” I would say that didn’t really happen for me until I was about 33, so I was a late starter!

  8. I am so jealous! I am nudging on the door of 50 and if i had to pick my favourite decade it would be my 30’s and definitely the year I turned 36…I worked hard, played hard, looked great but most importantly it was the year I gave birth to my youngest. Make the most of it whilst you can it will soon be gone. #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. Min says:

      That is a lovely comment to read. I will make sure I will enjoy it!

  9. love this!! In my early 30s myself, i’ve never really thought about what happens when we get to the “other side.” Your right though, SATC really does has the answers to every single problem in life! Fact! #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. Min says:

      It certainly does! Thanks for commenting.

  10. Enjoy it, you’re young, and how you feel is more important than the exact number of years you’ve lived. Talk to someone over 70 and they’ll say we’re still in the flower of our youth! My daughter was born when I was 36 – a week off 37, actually, and now I have less than a year to enjoy the rest of my 30s… But it’s just a number. I’m hoping Beta Mummy is right and the 40s are the new 30s! I certainly don’t feel my age. Sometimes I still feel like a teenager! #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. Min says:

      That’s very true. My mum keeps telling me I’m in the prime of life!

  11. I’m 36 this year and slightly depressed that this will make me nearer 40! Sorry, not helping am I?! I haven’t managed to do flicky eyeliner either…

    1. Min says:

      Yes, that’s a point…ARGH! Thanks for commenting.

  12. Love this post – I’m in my early 30’s and haven’t really thought about it…but I met my other half when he was 39 and he always says it’s all about the 40’s! Hope you had a lovely birthday xx #tribe

    1. Min says:

      I hope he’s right! Then we can imagine we have it all to look forward to…x

  13. Like you I will be turning 36 next month and I have also been thinking about what it means. No answers here but my path has been very different from yours. I love being in my thirties. I used to be worried and afraid of growing old but lately I’m quite excited to see what the future will bring. I believe you will look beautiful in a wedding dress at any age if that’s what you choose and I’m sure that there are many great things waiting for you now that you turned 36. xx #triballove

    1. Min says:

      Thank you. I hope you’re right! There are definitely advantages to being in your thirties.

  14. Well happy birthday! It does seem like a bit of a milestone doesn’t it? Funny how what we want and what we do subtly changes until we wake up with a milestone birthday hitting us in the face and realise we are completely different from the younger version of ourselves. In the words of Carrie “When you’re a teenager, all you want to do is buy beer. But once you hit 30 all you want to do is to get carded.” Thanks for linking up with us on #fortheloveofBLOG x

    1. Min says:

      Funny you should say that as the other day I actually was carded. And even better, I didn’t have any ID on me so the shop assistant refused to serve me! That has not happened in a LONG time, and I don’t think I had ever been happier about it!

  15. MMT says:

    Happy Birthday Min! Let me know how 36 pans out…it’s me next year 😉
    We need to see a pic of you rocking that dress ha ha!

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted. Desperately trying not to post too many pics of myself, but there might be one or two coming up. xx

  16. Happy birthday! I’m just entering my mid-30s and find it to be a strange stage – I’m definitely an adult, but I’m still not really adulting properly. No mortgage, no career (I have a job, but I don’t consider it my life’s work or anything) and very little savings (thanks to a 12 month maternity leave). I think a lot of people our age feel like we’re kind of in-between being a ‘young adult’ and an actual adult. #fartglitter

    1. Min says:

      Yes, and the traditional “markers” of adulthood like owning a house, car, having a baby etc, are coming later and later or becoming unaffordable.

  17. Ellen says:

    Happy birthday lovely. I think life probably just keeps getting better and better – more confidence, less fucks given, (hopefully) more money, and plenty more things besides. I hope so anyway…I felt weird about turning 26 because that seemed like the end of the carefree early 20s, but I guess having a baby had already scuppered that anyway… Age is irrelevant, wear a wedding dress if you want! #fartglitter

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! Yes, I hope you’re right. I definitely have more confidence now than I did when I was younger, so that one has improved!

  18. A belated very happy birthday to you! Love that you linked this post as number 37 on #fartglitter. Was that deliberate or a happy coincidence? My pillow cases will be relieved to hear that in 5 and a bit years I’ll actually start remembering to remove my makeup. My liver is looking forward to that stage too. I call BS on the old maid theory! x


    1. Min says:

      Haha, I may remove it, but that doesn’t mean it actually comes off! I still have pillow cases covered in the stuff! That was a coincidence-I didn’t even realise it was number 37!

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