Age Really IS Just a Number

I’ve often said, and I really believe, that my 50s are the greatest. The kids have grown into wonderful adults, work is fantastic and I’m happier now than I can ever remember being. And from everything I’ve read or seen first-hand, I believe that life only gets better from here.

Speaking of aging, PLANK editor Mandy recently celebrated her 40th birthday, and following a conversation with her about what that means (or in many cases doesn’t mean), I asked her to share some of her thoughts here. Because whether you’re 30, 40, 50 or better, I think there’s something we can all take from this.

Age Really IS Just a Number
by Mandy Denaux

I’ve always been the baby. My parents’ baby, of course, but I’ve also typically been the youngest of my friends, the youngster among my colleagues, and I’ve almost always dated older guys. So imagine my surprise when, in a flash, I look down and my driver’s license reads 40.

Now I know that’s not anywhere near old, but still, to reply 40 when someone asks my age just doesn’t feel quite right. That coupled with the fact that college was nearly 20 years ago and that I partied like it was 1999, well, 17 years ago … the more time passes the more it feels like a false, distorted marker that no longer applies to me.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset that I’ve entered this new bracket or in any way wishing I could turn back the clock. In fact, more and more I’m realizing how wrong I had it all these years. Getting older isn’t something to be feared and the good ole’ times are, in fact, the moments I’m living right now (and the ones I’ll live tomorrow).

blog74_1I realize now that so much of my thinking on the issue was really someone else’s idea. These culturally learned and societally reinforced ideas about youth vs. age that somehow get so ingrained that we buy into a false set of rules that only serve to limit us.

Why should age dictate the length of my hair or my skirt? Why does getting older mean that I should grow up or slow down? Any why would I believe that the mere passage of time means it’s too late for anything?

Sure, as a child I had a totally different vision for where I’d be at this point in my life. I thought I’d be married, have three kids and have a great little house with, yes, a white picket fence. Those are all wonderful things that I still hope to have; but my very limited frame of reference as a child meant I couldn’t even imagine the other wonderful things that life has to offer. I couldn’t have envisioned a life as full and dynamic as the one I’m living. That clarity only came with age.

And you know what else came with age? A real grasp on the idea that almost anything I want or dream of, I can have. Okay that sounds hokey, and I understand that realistically, age does prevent me from doing a few things. I can’t join the military and it’s highly unlikely that I’ll go the Olympics as a gymnast (mostly because I was never a gymnast) … but other than that, stand back. The last 10 years in particular have shown me that if I want something and I really put my mind to it, and I’m willing to work for it, I can do it. And that’s not something that’s available only to me – I believe we all have the ability to create the life we want.

blog74_3Are there things I wish I’d done younger or known sooner? Sure. I wish that I understood sooner the importance of taking care of my body. I would have loved to have known how useless things like worrying, grudge holding and bitterness are … and instead how important it is to live in THIS moment. And sure, I wish I would have discovered the wonder that is guacamole at a much younger age.

But no, I don’t want a do over. Just the opposite – I’m excited to see what unfolds today and tomorrow. I’m so excited to see what the 40s have in store for me … or more accurately, what I have in store for them!

This doesn’t mean, however, that I’m aging without a care in the world. No, I see that, with age, comes changes. Like a slowing metabolism means I have to move more and eat less. And yes, I’m getting a little botox to get rid of the ditch that formed between my two eyebrows. But other than that, and a few grey hairs that are progressively creeping in, I love what age has brought.

And when/if there are things I don’t like … well, age has shown me that there are really only two choices … embrace it or change it.

PS – I recently read a great article … a sort of counterpoint to the idea that women over a certain age shouldn’t do or wear certain things. Warning, it’s got some “adult language” in it, but the sentiment is a great one, so I encourage you to check it out!


  1. I was never one to stress over another year. I think every day is an opportunity to do something different or do something the same. It’s all about choosing joy every single day. At almost 52 I’ve discovered that cultivating contentment and positivity in my life has brought me amazing friends and truly enriched my existence. Thanks for your words Mandy and MB! In the company of great women we grow to be our best selves!

  2. Lori Olheiser

    Happy birthday Mandy! This was great! Thank you. The timing was perfect. I just celebrated my 50th birthday on 6/8. I was so unsure how I would react to this milestone. Would I take it in stride? Would I take the day off from work and hide at home in bed? I chose to get up, go to work and be present. I looked at 50 as a number and nothing else. It doesn’t define who I am as a person. It merely marks the birthdays I have had. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Disease last year so I was really feeling rough this last year. No energy and lots of side effects from the disease as well as the drugs to treat it. I learned alot about feeling limited recently but I won’t let a number do that. I may be slower than I used to be but I have a teenager, husband, house and I work full time. I am looking forward to many more years of whatever life has to offer me. Thank you Mandy and Mary Beth for giving me even more inspiration!

  3. Great blog again thanks Mary Beth (and to Mandy for her words of wisdom). As I turn 50 next week, it’s great to be reminded to love where you’re at in life and make the most of it.
    I just watched this link also which made me think of you: …. It’s 9 life lessons as told by a university graduate. Basically the same messages you convey to us but with a different and humorous twist.
    Love your work both on and off screen x

  4. Beautiful blog, Mandy. I think this really speaks to all of us.

  5. Love you and miss you, Mandy. You’re published and an actor and have a regular job, too. You’re right that you can do anything!

  6. Cindy Martinez

    Cheers to another fierce decade. Great Blog on grabbing that number with jazz hands and high kicks. One word…..Friends

  7. Mandy, age is but a number. Every “special” birthday I have thought that life is passing too quickly (and it is!) But each decade has filled with more and more special memories. I really feel that the maturity and life experiences that come with aging give you an appreciation that you can’t understand when you are younger. I feel I could achieve anything now-if I wanted to. That part can need convincing at times but not the fact that I could do it.
    I don’t embrace aging with glee-but I do embrace the memories and experiences I gain because of it.

  8. Love this blog! The article you referenced was great too! I’m 42 and besides everything headed south I am fine with the changes and the wisdom!

  9. Kelley in LA( lower Alabam)

    Loved the blog this week! I’m a firm believer that ” age is just a number”! I’ve said it many times the last 3 years! I’m gonna never grow old!😊

  10. Susan Nolen (Suzzy1969)

    Love you Mandy!…I feel encouraged by you and MaryBeth both!…you are both courageous women!….Please keep doing what you both are doing!…you’re both amazing women!..I just adore you as much as I adore MB!…you are “it” woman!….and please take pride in that!!!!

  11. Thank you so much for a wonderful blog, Mandy & Mary Beth!! I have never understood why some people get upset when they gain another year under their belt. In my opinion, age only represents the number of years you have been on this planet. It’s not there to define who you are; what you are capable of; or what you should or shouldn’t be doing or wearing. As the number increases, life only gets better and better!! The knowledge you gain is valuable, and the things you realize you spent time worrying about were really just silly things to worry about.
    Now, your body may not let you do things you used to be able to do with ease, and there are more aches and pains, but the possibilities of what you are capable of are endless!! Welcome to the 40’s, Mandy!! I am only a few years in, but they have been the best thus far!!

  12. Stacey (BraveWidowMama)

    Your FB feed tells me that you are rocking 40! You have a successful career and a solid group of friends.
    There is always time to fix the things that you don’t like.
    I’m turning 50 next October and plan to celebrate it. Not everyone gets the privilege; so I am grateful for the gift of health, love, and laugher.

  13. Ashley Parker

    This is awesome Mandy! I feel encouraged to never look back with regrets, but to enjoy the present moment I’m given! Thank you for this blog! 40 is going to be incredible! Happy late birthday!!!☺️

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