How does age affect your relationships?

the older I getI once wrote a post which referenced a quote/philosophical question “how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” It’s true that, as you get into your 30s and 40s and beyond you feel older physically, in your bones, but not necessarily in your mind.

Personally I think having children ages you in different ways. Firstly being around people with children the same age is a great leveller. Adjusting to life as a new parent is so all encompassing and there are so many similarities in the kind of experiences each of us will have foisted upon us, from learning to deal with a vomiting toddler and a sudden onslaught of sicky laundry at 3am, to school applications or the rush of pride you feel with each milestone and accomplishment.

The fact that we are having children later and later in life means that there is a wider age range of people going through the same thing at any one time. I had JJ at 38 and EJ at 41 and I now have friends ranging from 30 to 48 and I don’t really differentiate between us by age. Having said that, I then have friends and family members who are close in age to me but who had children much earlier than me and I somehow feel that our ages have become insignificant too but for the opposite reason – because we will never be on the same page of the same chapter ever again.

But I do wonder about people who remain child free and then again those who have vast age gaps between two children.
The other thing about having children is that you lose sleep, and I’m convinced that lack of sleep, much the same as suffering great stress, puts years onto a person.

Under the circumstances it hardly seems to matter what you choose to do with your time, how you choose to dress, what you read or listen to – those are things determined as much by social class, personality and peer group as they are by age. But again, human beings, by nature, tend to gather into tribes and tribes can subtly form with an unspoken acknowledgement that a 0-5 year generational bond trumps other considerations. Even now I still feel a horrible sense of resignation when I own up to being 43 – I want people to believe I am 33 – is that mad? Maybe it’s also to do with the fact that I don’t feel like I’ve really attained the kind of status it’s possible to have at my age – god, some people are running multi-million enterprises by the time they hit 25 (admittedly that’s not the norm, but you see where I’m going with this).

And then it seems like every day there is someone bemoaning the onset of the 30s or the onset of the 40s and I always want to tell the 30 year olds to forget about it, embrace it – that’s the prime of your young life – just enjoy it! At the same time I have to acknowledge that I’ll probably look back at this part of my life when I’m in my late 70s and realise that this is still pretty great and who wouldn’t rather be in the middle than at the end?

Apparently Victor Hugo claimed that 40 is the ‘old age of youth’ and 50 is the ‘youth of old age’. I find the concept of either seems kind of depressing although I guess what he was trying to get at was that however you might feel looking back at your first four decades, you are still ‘young’ – you’re not a perky dew-kissed bud but neither are your petals drooping and discolouring: you are in full bloom!

How do *you* feel about your current age and does it affect your relationships?

(As an aside, in searching for a good quote for this post I stumbled across this which tickled me so I thought I’d share it because, you know, how true?!:

“By my age, my grandfather had started a family and defeated the Nazis. I just accidentally deleted Angry Birds by wiping Nutella off my iPhone” ) 🙂



17 thoughts on “How does age affect your relationships?

  1. Good post Sam, and I really love the quotes at the beginning and end. The idea of fifty being the youth of old age is a nice way to spin it.

    I had my 5yo three weeks before my 30th birthday and feel it was the exact right time for me. Squeezing out two more kids in four years might end up aging me in the long term but I don’t think I’d fancy another pregnancy now. With all my sleep deprivation I’m bound to suffer as I get older but there isn’t much I can do about that until the kidlets start playing ball 😉 #ThePrompt
    Mummy Tries recently posted…The Q&A MemeMy Profile

    • Oh Renee I think 30 would have been the perfect time for me to have kids too if I hadn’t made such a hash up of my relationship choices at that point! I seem to fall into this awkward gap where everyone I know (well maybe not everyone!) has made a better job of their lives by having their kids at 30! X

    • Glad I’m not alone in feeling ten years younger than I actually am! I think the difference is that I do still have a toddler so I feel a disconnect with a lot of people of my age because we’re at such a different stage. I’m not sure if the post 40 bloggers page is for me because of that… I’ll have to check it out. X

  2. Interesting post, and I love the quotes. I fretted about being 30, but at the age of 37 I often have trouble remembering how old I am. As such, my age feels a little irrelevant and it doesn’t really affect my relationships – I try to take people for who they are, rather than their age. That said, I am constantly conscious that my fertility does care about my age xxx #ThePrompt
    Leigh – Headspace Perspective recently posted…How singing to your preemie can help both of youMy Profile

    • Oh yeah. Fertility. There is that. I’m living proof that you don’t have to be 30 to start a family though – I was older than you are now when I had JJ. Nice to know that other people do dismiss age as a qualifier for friendship though. Personality is not affected by age and never will be! Xx

  3. Another really interesting, thoughtful post. I am now 41 and I had my kids at 32, 35 and 38… I actually, so far, think that my forties are going to be my best decade so far. Despite the fun of my 20’s and excitement (and exhaustion!) of my 30’s, I am more comfortable and confident now. Mind you, I’m still 25 in my head… I don’t tend to think too much about age, except to occasionally feel very old when I realise quite how young someone is! But then I get ID’d all the time in the US, I think that might help 🙂 Thank you so much for linking to #ThePrompt
    Sara (@mumturnedmom) recently posted…Word of the Week: PulledMy Profile

    • Oh yeah – I would be totally so flattered if someone ever tried to ID me!! When I was 34 (and single and free of all responsibilities) I went on a guided tour up the East Coast of Australia with a bunch of people including a few 20 somethings and that made me feel old because they were getting id-ed in various places and I was just getting grudgingly ushered in! There are definitely certain things that you know you’ve got under your belt by a certain age – you’ve bought your forever house, you’ve got through all the baby years, you know who you are. If that’s what old is then we should definitely embrace that! X

  4. I absolutely love that quote at the beginning. I keep having a go at my hubby for complaining about being old – he’s only a year older than me at 37 but I still feel like we’re so young and need to make the most of it! If I’d have asked my 21 year old self mind she’d certainly have thought 36 was pretty damned old… But what does she know huh? xx
    Sophie Lovett recently posted…Word of the week: funMy Profile

  5. Haha, brilliant post. You’re right. There is a 16 year between two of my closest friends and I’m bang in the middle of them, but when you get us together, you wouldn’t know there was an age gap at all, especially when the kids are trashing the joint. Kids make you age more (lack of sleep) and less (you get to play with TOYS!) simultaneously. x
    chrissie (@rantybeast) recently posted…The Prompt – ageMy Profile

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