At what age did you get old?
Time to be happy in your skin ... ageing ain't bad. Photo: Comstock
A spate of friends and acquaintances is turning 40 this year and, as one, facing the milestone with a positivism that's almost defiant.
''I don't feel 40,'' says one friend, ''and I don't look it.''
"It may even be a positive thing - feeling, realising, that they are now at home in their own skin."
''I'm OK about it,'' says another.
And another woman: ''What's the big deal anyway? I don't look any different than I did in my early thirties.''
They're running marathons and they're starting businesses and they're at peace with their partner or lack of one. Turning the big 4-0 seems a breeze today. 1973ers have got young children or babies and/or are at a career height that suits. They're really enjoying life at a stage when they're able to make choices with the insecurities of youth far behind - including, hopefully, insecurities about appearance.
But while they mightn't look any different than they did three or five years ago, those changes will come. The forties are when ageing begins in earnest. How does weight gain, thinner lips, thread veins and frown lines sound? Shall I go on?
I'll let Dr Roberto Viel, an eminent American plastic surgeon and author, do that: ''You skin is losing more collagen and elastin so more lines and wrinkles appear. It also loses subcutaneous fat, causing droopy, baggy skin. Oil production lessens making skin drier and more prone to wrinkles...''
Let's stop there. Because this is nothing compared with what happens in your fifties, post-menopause. According to Flawless Rejuvenation skin clinic, studies show that decreased oestrogen is linked with dryness, skin thinning and fine wrinkling.
Yet pre-or post-menopausal, 30 or 50 or 44, women are going to start to feel their age at different ages. It may not be linked to changes in their appearance. It may even be a positive thing - feeling, realising, that they are now at home in their own skin.
At what age did you start to feel your age? How old were you when it occurred to you that you were no longer young? What sparked this change? Was it all downhill from there?