Friday, 18 January 2019

The #10YearChallenge and Being Happy in my Skin

The 10 year challenge is all over the internet at the moment. If you haven’t heard of the challenge it is basically encouraging people to put up a photo from 10 years ago next to a current photo. I’ve seen at least one news article which seems to suggest we need to be more positive. It implied people are finding it an upsetting experience seeing how they have aged, but I’m not sure that’s the case. I was interested to see the difference in my photos, but it didn’t make me feel bad about how I look now and I think many people feel the same.

#10YearChallenge photos of me


Some of the most interesting of these 10 year comparisons have been in a private Facebook group I’m in. A group where people are comfortable with honestly sharing non-filtered truths. Of course people are pulling together any pictures they can find of old with some of the best from now, but I’ve seen these people in real life and I know what they look like. I genuinely can’t remember seeing any of the comparisons where they look better 10 years ago than they do now.

I seem to know a lot of people in their 20s who were fresh faced skinny teens 10 years ago so obviously there is a difference to now, but the change for those of us who have moved from our 20s to our 30s is more interesting, I for one definitely feel more comfortable in my own skin. We may be mothers now, drink and go out far less. We may lose out on sleep due to the demands of our children rather than partying, but many of us seem happier for it. 

That’s not to say there aren’t parts of our lives we wouldn’t change, but heading towards 40 I have found that I am happy with my life overall. I have been around long enough to know what is important to me and I’m not prepared to spend my life in situations that make me miserable, like being in a job with a manager who I clash with or a partner who makes me feel lonely. Yes some days are hard, but on the whole my life has been moving in the right direction over the last 10 years.

I might be writing in the oxytocin haze of having a newborn, but life feels pretty good. I have 3 children I love, a caring and supportive partner, a nice house, enough money to get by on and a job which allows me to do what I love and gives me some amazing experiences. I’m even happy with my body at the moment, no doubt helped by receiving at least a couple of compliments a day from people telling me how great I look (even if is followed by “given you’ve just had a baby”).  As I wrote at the end of last month I don’t even have any resolutions for this year apart from to enjoy being with my family. For me 2019 is about enjoying the now, not about constantly trying to chase new goals. 

I am happy to look back at 10 years ago and think about how I’ve changed. I’m even happy to look back at the thinner, smoother and drunker me of 20 years ago. I don’t want to look like the me I was then any more than I want to be the me I was then. I will take the fine lines on my face, the odd grey hair and the less elastic skin if they are the payment for not feeling I need to compete with others and it’s a good thing to be me. I have accepted what I can’t change and I know that everything else is in my power to change, if I want to. And today I don’t. I am happy with the me of today and I think you should be too.

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