Thoughts on ageing when do i get the manual
Thoughts on...

Thoughts On… Ageing


I’ve dealt with confronting ageing in the same way I deal with confrontation in other areas of my life; I’ve avoided it like the plague. I like the age I am now. I don’t want to think about getting older. I don’t want to think about my body changing. I don’t want to think about liver spots and papery skin and dentures. Instead, I live in the moment.

Or as other people might call it, ‘in denial‘.

This mindset of pretending it’s-just-not-happening-and-I’ll-have-this-same-human-body-forever-and-I-will-always-be-capable-of-solo-dance-parties-in-my-kitchen-and-I-could-climb-Kilimanjaro-but-I-just-don’t-feel-like-it-right-this-minute has served me pretty well so far for an attitude that I realise is, frankly, unsustainable in the long-term.

Up until this year, I didn’t use moisturiser with any frequency whatsoever. I also didn’t use sunscreen unless I was in 40° heat (that’s 104° for you in America). In terms of skincare or exercise, I lived a life of blissful ignorance. When it comes to spa treatments, I have never had a facial, and honestly the idea of a stranger stroking my face with gloop makes me stiffen with discomfort (I’ve heard people say that it’s relaxing, but I truly cannot fathom how that could possibly be the case). The only massages I have ever had are the painful, physiotherapeutic ones that feel like physical abuse and leave you bruised for the rest of the week.

What I’m getting at here is that although I’m grateful for my body and all that it does for me, I don’t exactly treat it like a temple. If my body must be an architectural metaphor, then it is a ramshackle treehouse on a desert island built from bits of trees and patches of moss. I need it. It’s all I’ve got. I could probably stand to make it a bit prettier, but for the moment it does the job. Yes, time is passing and I haven’t so much as given it a coat of varnish, but it still looks fine.

… And then yesterday, I found an unwelcome, uninvited squatter.

As I tried to french braid my hair in front of the mirror (and failed. Again. Seriously how do people manage those braids? They’re like wizardry! You need spatial relation skills I was never born with), I found a single, solitary strand of silver.


So rude.

I looked at it accusingly. It was trying to disguise itself as blonde, trying to hide among my long dark hair. My eyes narrowed and I pulled it from my head and stared at it. Logically, I’m aware that since I’ve turned thirty I should have expected this sort of monstrous betrayal. It was only a matter of time. My hair – which in the past has been treated to such indignities as blue extensions, a quick magenta dye-job in a bathroom sink, and an extremely ill-conceived period of jet black permanent colour which took about a hundred years to grow out – could only hold out so long. AND YET.

I stood there, staring at this disloyal strand of hair and hissed, “Et tu, Brute?

Before you say it, I know that it’s just one grey hair, and I probably don’t have to run out just yet to buy a teetering stack of Nice n’ Easy Age Defy in the shade Natural Dark Brown. Still, it was an unpleasant discovery. It was an unwanted, obnoxious reminder that I am, in fact, an adult and will at some stage have to consider things such as (down the line) hair dye and (hopefully much further down the line) dentures.

This morning, having internalised all of these unpalatable thoughts, I sat down at my desk and decided to start treating my body better. We’re in this together after all, body and brain. If I’m going to be a ramshackle treehouse on a desert island, let’s at least do something cool with it; swing from branches or something. I feel good about this decision. I felt a rush of energy run through me as I thought about it, and that seems like a good omen.

Although actually, now that I think about it, that might have just been the coffee.

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  • bexoxo

    I feel your pain. I was in a gas station washroom about a month ago and found 4 grey hairs front and center in my bangs! It was only a few days before my 25 birthday too. I didn’t yank mine though; instead, I just tried to hide them under the vibrant red pieces. It’s worked so far…
    But is becoming grey so bad? The sooner you get a head full of grey, the sooner you get offered senior discounts, right?

  • Anchorleg

    It may be hard to believe, but my prediction is that you will continue to enjoy each stage of life, just like you mentioned that you do at 30. I’m 61 and I like it! I do miss certain aspects of youth, but each age brings it’s benefits and it’s baggage. My wife says she’s more confident about who she is than ever before. I realize not everyone ages gracefully, but I think most people eventually learn to enjoy life at every age.

    • Quinn

      I love this! Thank you. I think you’re right, but it still felt like an affront to find one of my hairs rebelling in the back. I mean maybe if there were a few of them, but just ONE? Rude.

  • Cari

    With the way you deal with such thoughts, you’ll have fun ageing…
    You’ll probably write about it, too and share it… Then we’ll all have fun mulling over the enigma that is growing old.

  • Angela

    I got my first grey hair at 16, I know awful, right? So I don’t really associate grey hairs with ageing, I mean I had greys before I my wisdom teeth appeared. I also am guilty of neglecting my temple, who has time for 7 step face cleaning anyway? …OMG I just realised I’m 34 in 2 months!!! **Currently googling best anti-ageing potions

    • Quinn

      WHO HAS TIME? Exactly! When I read these things that are like “… Now let that serum sink in before applying [product 3 of 54676]” I’m like… Well there’s my whole day gone. I mean, seriously. I need a one and done body and face moisturiser with a sunscreen as part of it that also (preferably) acts as a real life snapchat filter, please and thank you!

      • Angela

        Haha by the time you are finished you are 2hours older and have lost 1hr55 minutes of your beauty sleep it’s a vicious circle!
        Yeah that sounds like the perfect potion, slap it on go, Insta ready instantly!

  • Sunain Banga

    This was a little scary. I’m 19 and I barely know anything about grey hair, but the way you have reacted makes me wonder if it is really a big deal? Like is it a big thing, gives you a sense of responsibilities coming up or you could still give a burnout and leave everyone in smoke when the traffic light goes green?

    • Quinn

      Oh don’t worry I can still leave people in the dust. Also, that grey hair is gone now so I’m back to being a youthful sproglet. Don’t worry, I could still kick your ass at… umm… well… hmmm… table hockey?

  • iwannabealady

    Might have just been the coffee! Haha. This is such a funny piece. Honest and funny, as usual 🙂
    Okay, so first of all, thank you for translating the temperature for us Americans; it’s always so frustrating. Secondly, I believe a healthy serving of denial is good for keeping our youthful mind alive.

    However, I totally understand your plight. My body isn’t reacting to the gym as quickly as it used to; my skin isn’t bouncing back like it used to; any day now I’m going to find a grey hair and probably throw up in the sink. Like you, I’m in my 30s, 35 next month, but I don’t look it. I can still get away with 22 on good days, a teenager on great days. People think I’m talking crazy when I say I feel age creeping up, but I can see it, though it’s not obvious to others. Just like your one strand of grey.

    You stick to that moisturizer with sunscreen: face, neck, chest and hands. And do a few push ups in the morning. 🙂 You’re going to feel great when you develop a routine of slathering on lotions in the morning and before bed.

    • Quinn

      Who has time to be putting on all these creams though?! There are so many out there! Also I’m not sure I can even do a single push-up let alone more multiple… Maybe I can start on half a push-up and work up from there? Ha! Thanks!

      • iwannabealady

        I know! But just think, brush teeth and moisturizer. Morning, night. Forget all the other stuff. I wrote about this very issue years ago, and it’s taken me years to be consistent, and I finally am. I used t be a push up wimp too, but a friend suggested I wake up every morning and do push ups. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can improve. Baby steps. Hell, half a step is still progress 🙂

  • Krista

    Oh my heck my kindred spirit friend…
    just last night I began contempating writing a post about aging.
    However mine will be from a very different view point.
    In face from a 20 year older view point.

    As I approach the big 50 (which is insanely wild to comprehend, cause 50 year olds use to be old! OLD OLD!!!) I am often tickled when folks are shocked when I share that I’ve been married for 23 years. Then in an effort to settle their minds they set out in an effort to guess my age. Typical guessing late thirties/early fourties, occasionally mid thirties and just last week got a 32 (granted I’d just served him his forth black and tan for the night so took no real stock in his ohhhh so sauve’ compliment). But in all my years, I’ve a come to learn that there is one simple reason no one has EVER been able to make out my age…
    the spirit within that shines forth. Gratefully my spirit, your spirit, everyones spirit can be absolutely ageless if we only allow. Thus making our actual age absolutely meaningless! Well… other than the occasional gray hairs that finds it way in.

    Enjoy the adventure that this time of your life provides, just as you did with the adventures of your twenties, your teens and childhood! For truly, life like wine, cheese and good whiskey just keeps getting better and better AND SOOOO much better as we age.

    • Quinn

      This comment made me smile so much. I can FEEL your spirit through the comment, and yup, it’s pretty ageless! I hope to be like you in twenty years! Something to aspire to!

  • violetonlineisonline

    the two things my mother taught me – always use moisturiser, always use sunscreen, you’ll be good to.
    (N.B. I have facials once a month, use anti-ageing cream, cover all my gray hairs and am VERY BAD AT EVEN THINKING ABOUT LOOKING OLD)

      • violetonlineisonline

        FANTASTIC. Even my first. They’re the most relaxing marvellous wonderful thing, your skin will shine and glow forever. You get scrubbed and steamed and massaged and moisturised and I insist that you go for your first one. (but go to a good salon)

        • Quinn

          Okay you actually make it sound not so weird. I mean, I’m still not entirely sold on the idea of someone touching my face because STRANGER FINGERS but you made it sound… not creepy. So I MAY try it.

          MAY. Maybe.

          • violetonlineisonline

            you know it’s changed from the days when they used to get a tissue and their finger nails and like EW squeeze….now it’s all machines and high tech and soothing. Also, darling, you are saving your skin for when you are OLDER!!!

  • wendie

    I’ve a few grey hairs, and am the opposite I’ve every serum and moisturiser under the sun 🤣 I will say I’ve noticed a weird splotch on my hand, and my skin is getting even drier as time marches on so I’m slathering on coconut oil after I bathe and trying to follow your advise and live in the moment 👌🏻

    • Quinn

      How is the coconut oil going? I’m really impatient when it comes to rubbing anything in. I just can’t be faffing around waiting for it to dry! Cue ruined clothes….

      • wendie

        I put it in my hair overnight (dry hair then a loose plait) and sleep in it. My skin feels amazing! I would suggest a serum from a company called ‘ordinary’ get the cocktail’ spf & moisturiser like a reader said just do it morning & eve after brushing your teeth. I don’t always use coconut oil on my body, but at night I do and then straight into PJ’s it’s not that sticky.

  • The Wayfarer

    Re: french braiding your own hair.
    The trick is to not use a mirror. At least not until you get a feel for it. Then you can use a mirror if you want to check the ~aesthetics~

    A pro self-braider

    • Quinn

      I’m going to try this. I actually took a photo of my attempt because it looked like I had created a pineapple on the top of my head and it made me laugh, but then I was too embarrassed to post it!

  • Ama Addo

    I hope you don’t hate me and my youth but I also don’t want to grow old. I’m only 19 but I feel like there’s so much more my ramshackle tree-house can achieve and I am sometimes so aware of the fact that time just goes by so fast that it scares me that I’ll get to my thirties and not have done anything.
    Though to be honest, I kinda can’t wait to go grey. Hahahaha please don’t kill me!. I guess it comes from seeing my great grandma rocking the foxy silver look. Plus I’m black so I guess I think it’ll make for an interesting look.
    I’m glad that you’re happier making the decision to tend to your temple of a body and I hope it leads you to new discoveries of yourself. Maybe even a venture into the waters surrounding your treehouse on the desert island 😉
    Ama Addo / Albatroz & Co.

    • Quinn

      Hahaha thanks Ama. You will get to your thirties and still feel the same as you do now, I’ll tell you that! It’s a weird feeling! I used to think 32 was like ACTUAL ADULT STATUS CONFIRMED. Now it’s only two years away and I’m like, “pssshhhh that’s still young…!”

      I feel like I’m going to keep moving the goalposts my entire life!

  • Jeff Cann

    Please, Quinn. I’ve had grey hair since high school.At least yours isn’t falling out. Good for you trying to take better care. I recommend (as you already know) running.

  • Awkwardly Alive

    I have recently rounded this corner myself!! Not the gray hair yet, but the forehead lines that don’t go away… dare I say… wrinkles??? Cue the tidal wave of moisturizers now stocking my bathroom cabinets.

    • Quinn

      Ugh wrinkles… don’t get me started! Although I feel like I’ve had lines on my forehead forever. I think I worry too much!

  • Joanna Maguire

    Ha ha Quinn! How do you have such an awesome way with words?! Chortled my way through this piece. I try and look at aging differently in that if I am aging that means I am not dead – a bonus no?! Positive thinking and all that fluff. 🙂

  • A doctors kitchen

    It’s been 6 years since I first experienced this! I ought to be honest; it never goes away! I’m now at the ( every 6 weeks dying my hair) stage! Still can’t get over it!!!!!😫

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