OT: What does 35 look like anyway?

Former Miss USA Kenya Moore is absolutely beautiful -- and 39 years old!

I recently celebrated a birthday. A big one – number 35.


I was kind scared. Don’t get me wrong – I feel enormously blessed to have lived 35 years – but it is a bit scary. Who would have thought I’d be grown up? I always thought that I would be 14 for life. Actually, I still feel like I’m 14 (until my back gets stiff and I feel like every dang year).

But I’m not. I’m 21 years passed 14. And I don’t feel it…but, really, what does 35 look like and feel like? What does 40 – my next milestone birthday – look and feel like?

I’m lucky. These 35 years aren’t really apparent in my face or body. I also didn’t mash myself up over the years with alcohol, smoking and living hard when I was younger. I don’t look 35 or, act 35 for that matter, so most people are shocked when I tell them how old I am.

Nia Long is fab at 39 -- look at that skin... I'm jealous of that skin

Most of my friends are around my age and 35 today sure ain’t like 35 in my mom’s time. Back in the ’70s when my mother was 35, life was different. People were…how do I explain without being rude…old and mature. I saw a picture of a 39-year-old man in the 1970s and he looked so old. So fatherly. So mature.

Personally, I don’t look old. I don’t feel old.

Although, I don’t have any children yet, I’ll be a hot mom in my mid- to late-30s and definitely in my 40s and beyond. The women I know who are mothers are hot, fashionable and youthful.

So what does 35 look like? I guess, it looks like me: fun, fresh, strong, happy and young. I thought 25 was the height of my sexy, but I’m realizing that women do truly get better with age.

Everyone thinks Gabrielle Union's a stunner at 37

One of the young women that I volunteer with is 23 and just graduated from university. When we were talking and I was telling her about my experiences in the workforce, she said, “I want to be like you when I grow up!”

At first, I clutched my pearls… but I am a grown up compared to a 23-year-old and I’m good with that.

Readers, lurkers and others, what do you think? Are you approaching a milestone birthday? What does 30, 35 or 40 look like to you?


13 Comments Add yours

  1. Nikkele says:

    I’ll be 40 next year and I am loving every minute of it. I feel stronger, wiser, and more sure of myself. The best part is I don’t look or feel my age. I also had a clutch my pearls moment when someone called me “old”, lol. Well, keep taking good care of yourself!

    1. urbansista says:

      I am enjoying getting older, but a close friend of mine who is Indian, said that she can’t understand Western society obsession with staying young. It’s so true and everywhere you turn people are talking about staying young and fighting age. I plan to age gracefully – of course with some henna to cover the greys :).

      I guess if you don’t look the part it’s easier to enjoy aging. I’m starting to take more care of myself and my health now that I’m getting into my mid-30s, so I guess I’ll feel even better at 40!

  2. dalia says:

    I think nia long has always looked “mature.” Kenya is beautiful, yes, but I can believe she is 39. Now Miss Union, on the other hand, is forever youthful. It’s the dimples and the sparkle in her eye.

    Genetics certainly plays a huge role. I have yet to have anyone guess me over 28. hee! I get carded when I go to the LCBO or when I buy lotto tickets…and my mom was getting carded for alcohol well into her 30s and early 40s.

    1. urbansista says:

      In terms of the pictures, I chose those women not because they necessarily look young. I chose them because they look awesome (I also wanted to include Aisha Tyler and Garcelle Beauvais. You know Garcelle doesn’t look a day over 30 and homegirl is 43). They don’t look like what I thought mid- to late-30s looked like when I was a teen. They aren’t what I thought mid- to late-30s were. Meaning, I had a particular idea about what getting older and looking older was supposed to be like. These women, myself and my friends have destroyed that and now I view aging very differently.

      I’m thankful that my genetics has me looking younger than I am, but I staunchly believe that 30 isn’t what 30 was back in the 1960s. 40 isn’t what 40 was back in the day. There is a strangeness about aging in Western society. Although we, women, strive to stay young looking for as long as possible, we are also becoming more comfortable and confident as we get older. Women aren’t forcing themselves into traditional boxes of what a more mature woman should be doing at her advanced age. For example, I know a wack of women, myself included, who aren’t moms but are in their mid- to late-30s and in their 40s. For some, it’s not a choice, but for others, they see themselves doing other things first or maybe they just don’t want to have children. I also know a bunch of women who can’t see themselves not being mothers and raising children. The great thing about being a woman today is that we have choice about what we want to do. Sometimes you still have to smack down people who want to force you to be what they think women should be, but by and large, women are breaking society’s stereotypes on what being a woman is.

      It’s those kinda of things — in addition to being grown and sexy at 35 — that make me ask the question, what does 35 look like?

      1. nikkele says:

        It is so true. Aging has a different “look” when you get older. I used to look at people my age as over the hill when I was younger. Truth be told, I look at 39 as still a kid! I think nowadays we have more opportunities that, as women, that we are no longer afraid to take advantage of for fear of appearing too ambitious or winding up alone. We don’t fear not getting married by 20 or having kids by 25 because we have options. My mother’s generation, everyone was hooked up by 18 and starting families by 20. These days having a child at 40 is no big deal.

      2. urbansista says:

        My mom was a bit of a pioneer in her day. She put off marriage and moved to Canada in the 1960s. She didn’t get married until she was 31 — an old maid by 1960s standards. My parents always encouraged my sister and I (almost to a fault, but that’s another post for another day) to be ambitious. I guess when you don’t feel necessarily rushed to get married (I got married at 32) or have children (I won’t say I don’t feel rushed sometimes), you are open to a number of other opportunities that women in generations past didn’t have access to. Having kids in your mid- to late-30s will be tiring, but not impossible.

  3. All these women look stunning! And yes, I also look younger than my age. But then again, they say Black don’t crack… as long as we take care of ourselves and avoid vices, we can all look great!

    1. urbansista says:

      This is very true. My mom, older sister, cousins and aunts all look great. It’s all about aging gracefully 🙂

  4. ~Back to Curly~ says:

    you look amazing for 35, and I’m truly starting to believe it’s all in how you carry yourself over the years, rather than the actual #. I’ll be turning 30 in a few, and have finally reached the age where aches and pains is no longer just a cute little pairing of words. I feels it every dang day, loL!!
    But still, I feel blessed because I feel healthy and confident in my future, as long as I take care of myself, eat right and work on my mental and physical well being…I’ll feel as if I’m securing my purpose here on earth and not cheating myself.

    1. urbansista says:

      Thanks! I agree — it is about how you carry yourself. I also think it’s about realizing you’re whatever age you are, but not letting that determine who you are. Girl, I hear you with the aches and pains. Recently, my thumb joint just started hurting for no reason. Things go downhill after 30!

      Amen! Once I left university and my parents’ house, I never really thought about exercising or eating really healthy. I wish that I knew then what I know now *SMH*. I was lucky to be as healthy with no serious problem and be naturally slim (thanks Pops!), but now I’m realizing that it’s not about how the outside looks, it’s about how the inside feels. Thank God it’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself.

  5. jdid says:

    Like the I want to be you when I grow up comment. Too funny.
    Every day I have to pause when people put me down as references for jobs etc. Its just weird thinking that I’m now actually someone thats old enough to vouch for someone.

  6. r*dean [myaliasfotography] says:

    i definitely don’t feel 37 [mar 3] and most people are surprised at my age [although now that i’ve let too many pounds creep on, i’m looking not as youthful :]

    When i see women that are mid-thirties – I always think they look so ‘mature’ and I don’t think I look or have that persona at all [good or bad]

  7. McCrotchity says:

    Yes, but black women have better skin than white women. I am a white woman. I look WAY older than my black friends of the same age. I don’t know what it is, but their skin is always just glowing and beautiful. My skin is wrinkled and dull. None of us are smokers and we drink some, but not a lot. It makes me a bit jealous. I don’t want to be the o e everyone thinks is 40 when my friends look in their 20s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s