We’re not 21 anymore, and that’s okay

by Natalie
Mums Off Duty, 21

Feeling reflective at the end of the year

The end of the year is hurtling full speed towards us, and I really want to end 2017 on a positive note, so that I can feel optimistic and excited about the year ahead.

The fact that I turn 37 at the end of the year is making that a little harder! I’m finding myself indulging in a little more self-reflection than usual. I know it’s not a ‘big’ birthday but the fact that 40 is edging ever-closer is certainly making me stop and take stock.

When we’re younger, we want to be older (our four-year old absolutely cannot wait to be five) and when we’re older we find ourselves hankering after our youth again.

Would you want to be 21 again? Sure, the perky body and smooth skin would be nice. But in terms of how I feel, I think my outlook and perspective on life is certainly much more grounded, balanced and healthier in my 30s.

Mums Off Duty

This decade, so far, has taken me on a rollocking-rollercoaster of a journey, thanks to marriage and motherhood. It’s been one hell of a ride. There’s nothing quite like becoming a parent to make you grow up overnight.

Remember who you were before you became a mum…

Mums Off Duty, 21

You’ll hear lots of people tell you, “Don’t forget who you were before you had a baby. You’re still you.” It’s true, of course – you should wholeheartedly remember the person you were before you were Mum.

I love reminiscing and remembering all the fun we had in our 20s. University was brilliant and such an significant part of my life, where I made lifelong friends.

I don’t want to fall into the trap, though, of longing for 21 again. I feel like such a different person now to 21-year-old me. Is that a bad thing? Have I lost my identity somewhere along the way? Did I accidentally toss it out with the ten millionth dirty nappy?

…and realise it’s okay if you’re not really her anymore

Motherhood is completely and utterly life-changing. You can’t deny it. Of course we’ll change, that’s how we adapt and survive. It’s okay to not be precisely who you were at 21.

Lots of things have happened since then to shape who you are now. You may even be a new and improved version of you.

I think the biggest change for me is around my ambitions and aspirations. After graduating, I always presumed I was headed for the big corporate world where I could make lots of money, but I’ve come to realise that it’s just not the life for me.

Becoming a mum really has completely changed my perspective on life. It doesn’t mean I’m any less ambitious, just that my ambition is directed towards a very different goal.

Please don’t ever feel bad, thinking that you’ve changed too much from your old self. Change is good, we just need to accept and embrace it. Most likely, your values and beliefs still persist, and those are the things that really matter and make you you.

Embrace your new self

Mums Off Duty, 21

I’ve reached a bit of a milestone emotionally, and maybe you have too. It’s decision time – dwell on the past and who you used to be, or move on and enjoy getting to know the new you.

I’m very much working on the latter, but it is definitely a work-in-progress. It’s so easy to look back and wish you were 21 again. Honestly, though, you’re actually probably much happier and more content now. 

Give yourself some time to think about what truly brings you joy and makes you happy in this moment.

At this stage in my life, I’m finding more joy in smaller things. Peace and quiet, a hot drink, a good night’s sleep, brunch with the girls, yoga, cuddles with hubby and the boy…these are things my 21-year-old self would probably have scoffed at, before downing my (tenth) Vodka and Redbull.

Priorities, passions, ambitions, these all change over time. Remember who you were, but don’t waste precious time longing for the old you. Enjoy and make the most of who you are right now.

It’s not going to be easy to let go of 21-year-old us, but if we can do it, I think we’ll feel so much better. Are you with me?


Cuddle Fairy

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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Oldhouseintheshires November 8, 2017 - 8:49 am

Do you know? I am in my mid 40’s and I felt terrified of turning 40. I planned a big party, I exercised like a demon, I wanted to party in a beach and then I had my birthday and went to a spa! The actual birthday was fabulous and just what I needed. Now i’m approaching my 50th as my next big birthday, I’m calm and looking forward to it! Turning 40, as many woman say, is like a switch turning inside my head. I feel at ease with myself in such a different way to what I was in my 30’s! You want I’ll love it! Xxx #bloggerclubuk

Natalie December 15, 2017 - 9:50 am

Sounds like you had a great time! I’m always up for a spa! I’m so glad to hear that you’re enjoying your 40s…bring it on! xx

Berni Benton November 8, 2017 - 6:57 pm

I’m 50 next week. I’ve never been more content with myself. Yes when i was 21 I had the perfect figure etc etc, but i didn’t have the confidence I have now so didn’t appreciate the attributes I had. now I’m quite a bit more spongy round the edges and , yes I could diet if I wanted too, but i love social eating, and drinking and cooking…. so hey , i prefer to consider it as curvy… and anyway life approaching 50 is FABULOUS DARLING

Natalie December 15, 2017 - 9:51 am

I hope you had a great birthday! I do believe that your confidence grows as you get older, I think you become a lot more sure of yourself and hopefully just happier with who you are! It sounds to me like you’re living a fabulous life! Enjoy! xx

Honest Mum December 15, 2017 - 9:11 pm

Love this, you are so wise, life does change when you have kids but I’m still me: as you say, my values make me who I am and I’ve pivoted career-wise thanks to kids. I definitely feel more content now I’ve had children. I know myself more and want I want from life. I also know what’s important because of them. Thanks for such a wonderful post x

Natalie December 18, 2017 - 9:33 am

Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. I totally agree. Having kids does change your perspective on life – in a good way! As you say, you realise what is actually important and what really matters to you x

Jacqui December 18, 2017 - 10:28 am

Amen to that! I also turn 37 now. My priorities have changed and to be honest, I am happier now that when I was 21 🙂 #brilliantblogposts

Natalie December 18, 2017 - 11:54 am

Woop! So happy to hear that Jacqui, we’ve really got to appreciate what we have now! Thanks for your comment 😊


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