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What happens at 35?

Once I hit 30, I started hearing it from friends, family members, and my primary care physician - things change when you hit 35. The ominous warning alarmed me, but without any further detail I brushed it off. What can be so dramatic about hitting a specific age?

Then I heard it from my OB while I was pregnant with my second child in my early thirties. Did I plan on having any more children? If so, I needed to be aware of the same number - 35.

35.09, to be exact. That’s the age that researchers at Japanese skincare company SK-II claim beauty begins to fade. I am now two months away from my 36th birthday. This is the first time I’ve ever really felt like I was starting to age. I’ve noticed differences in my energy level, the achiness of my limbs, the wrinkles around my eyes and forehead, and the texture and color of my hair.

I’m not going to lie, I had a little breakdown at first. Why is all of this happening to me so suddenly? I thought it was because I had another baby but no, just plain old aging coming into play. It’s an odd thing to feel for the first time in your life.

I had to start taking better care of myself in order to feel well. I used to do hours of HIIT training and eat all kinds of different diets from low carb to paleo to raw food - you name it. I thought of myself as quite the wellness junkie. But after 35, the term wellness took on a different meaning for me.

In my twenties and early thirties, “wellness” really meant to me “weight loss,” but now it’s so much more than that. I’m now a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and an entrepreneur. I need to feel well to be at my best.

I work out because it feels good, not because I think it makes me look good. It gives me the energy I need to keep up with my three small children and show up well for the other roles in my life too. It relieves my stress and helps me sleep. I eat healthy also because it makes me feel good. I have a simple anti-aging skincare routine I try to follow most days, which makes me feel like I am taking care of myself and keeps me looking refreshed.

But something else happened to me at 35, beyond just physical changes. Experts say it takes until you turn about 35 for your brain to fully mature. I’m more peaceful now, less stressed, less critical of myself. I used to spend a lot of unnecessary time worrying about what other people thought of me - was I a good enough parent? Was my outfit cute? Was I thin enough? Now I don’t really care what people think of me. Have I let myself go? No! But I’m more comfortable standing in my ground and owning my choices because I like them, not because someone else does.

So, there are some surprising physical changes that do seem to happen right at 35, but there’s a lot of good that comes with reaching this milestone too. So check out this list of the great things about turning 35:

You’re more confident

Having more maturity and life experience makes me feel a lot more confident than I did in my twenties. I’ve learned a lot about life since then and I don’t take that for granted.

You get more respect

I specifically feel this in my role as a mother, as well as in my professional role as a consultant and a writer. When I had my first and even my second kid, just about anyone would approach me with their ideas on parenting advice. Now, when I’m out and about with my third baby I get absolutely none of that - and if I did I wouldn’t care! Which leads me to my next thing.

You’re less of a people pleaser

I got really good at trying to please everyone around me and putting myself last. Who am I kidding I wasn’t even on the list! Now, I do what I know works best for my family and myself and I don’t worry too much about what anyone else thinks of it.

You learn to let go of judgment and comparison

These two habits are the main reason I had a difficult time with female relationships in my life. Because I would judge. I would compare. I got judged. I was compared against. I can honestly say that letting that stuff go is easier at 35. You just learn to appreciate the people around you for the good they offer and let go of all the negative stuff that holds us back.

You’re improved

All of my life was spent working to get to where I am right now. Family wise, career-wise, a lot of us start to achieve the lives we’ve spent the last 30 years envisioning and that’s a great feeling.

Plus - you can officially run for president at 35. If that isn’t a testament to how mature and experienced we are at 35 I don’t know what is. I hope this helps clear up the mystery of what happens at 35 and made it clear that this is truly a milestone worth celebrating.


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