Fashion illustration Stories

Birthday reflections – The five things that have changed since I turned 30

May 13, 2017
Alessia Landi Fashion Illustration birthday champagne balloons watercolour marchesa dress

Today it’s my birthday and I’m turning 33.


And for how 20 year old I can sometimes feel inside and how much I can tell myself that I’m technically still young, I also feel the years weighing on my shoulders (ALERT: I’m gonna talk like a granny all the way through this post) .
But the good part is: I kinda like it.

Except very annoying stuff like spending tons of money on anti-age products, realising I can’t wear shorts with the same nonchalance anymore and literally feeling my ovaries shrinking more and more every day, I have to say being 33 is not that bad.
I’m gonna go bold here and claim that actually, I prefer it to when I was in my twenties.

A couple of days ago, I stopped a moment to think, while mentally anticipating the taste of champagne on Friday night at 00:00 (and not a minute later): how have I changed in the last 10 years? What are the things that, albeit sometimes stupid or frivolous, hit me for being really different from my twenties?

Here are the answers:

  1. I wear sunblock on my face. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
    I spent my twenties in the early 2000s in Italy, where being tanned orange like Berlusconi was still considered cool. Too bad I was born with a VERY pale skin and you can imagine my lovely peers, all in shades ranging from deep honey to terracotta, calling me “Mozzarella” as soon as I was wearing the first sleeveless top of the season. Ouch.
    So, in an attempt to fight the vampiresque hue of my skin, I was spending my summers frying in the sun without SPF (man, that was painful) and getting into sunbeds way too often. My mom, of course, alerted me that it was dangerous and that, even without mentioning skin cancer, that kind of behaviour would have led me to all sorts of skin nightmares like dark patches and premature aging.
    And I, of course, didn’t listen to her at all. Mom leave me alone, can’t you see that I’m 20 and invincible and I’ll never get old (subtext: like you) and seriously go get worried about some of your old woman stuff like work and paying the bills. Pfffff.
    Well now not only I have to take care of work and paying the bills too (and that happened way too soon) but I also have to painfully admit that my mom was right (as usual. But don’t tell her or she’ll get all cocky and never leave me alone again).
    I have some light melasma on my upper lip (which, since I always forget the word “melasma”, I adorably call “my moustache”. No, it’s not as bad as it sounds) and I start to see a few little dark spots on my cheeks. Since a couple of years I have freckles on my nose, which for how adorable as it might sound, it’s just a sign of how much UV rays I let sank into my skin. And of course, the horrible W word: wrinkles.
    I have started to use a sunblock on my face every day since I moved to Singapore (it’s not that I really needed sunblock in Belgium anyway) and I am already seeing a difference. My skin tone is more uniform, the dark patches have stopped popping out on my cheeks and even my melasma is getting better. I have also stopped to sunbathe and I wear SPF 50 on my body whenever I do an open air activity: life is so much better without sun burns and patchy tans.
    So please girls do me a favour: listen to your mother and wear that freaking sunblock. Really. You’ll thank yourself for this very wise decisions when you’re 30. Which, like it or not, will happen sooner than you think.
  2. I take off my make-up every night
    Seriously, I think I skipped only a couple of times in the last two years, when I went to a party and was so drunk I fell asleep with my clothes on and then suddenly woke up to go throw up in the toilet (man I’m so happy my mom can’t read English).
    But again, this was another thing that my mother kept repeating me all the time when I was younger and I was going like “blah blah blah keep talking I can’t hear you”.
    First of all, pillows are so much nicer when they’re not full of mascara stains. Especially now that I have to do my own laundry.
    Second, and most important reason, my skin is so much better. Like, visibly better. My skin care routine was minimal and a burden before, now I go through the whole Korean shebang every night and my skin has never looked better. Seriously, except a few wrinkles here and there, it’s much better now than when I was 25. I’m planning to write a post soon on my beauty routine and all my favourite products, stay tuned for that because it literally saved my face.
  3. I overcame my eating disorders
    Ok I can write a book on this chapter of my life so I’ll try to be brief. I had a lot of episodes of binge eating when I was younger and my weight was a crazy rollercoaster. Alternating strict diets to eating like a pig was the story of my life.
    Now it’s not like that anymore and it didn’t happen by magic out of the blue. I really did put some efforts in it and I understood that I could eat everything and avoid dieting if only I would follow a very simple (but at the same time oh so difficult) rule: eat in moderation, stop when you’re full, don’t eat if you’re not hungry. It took me years to master it and it was a process with lots of ups and downs but perseverance did pay off. But the key thing here is, I am a much more balanced person now that I am older and that of course reflects in my behaviour with food as well. And I like it.
  4. I have a more mature approach to shopping
    I still buy loads of crap, obviously. But I look differently at trends and how clothes look on me and I usually pick what makes me feel good, not what appears on the pages of Elle (well I can’t afford that anyway). I know that I can’t wear high heels, so I learned to style wedges and middle heels (thank God now they’re also a trend). I understood the cuts of dresses that fit me better and I always go for that. I know that black and white make me feel comfortable and I rarely buy other colours. Result: I wear EVERYTHING I have in my closet and nothing stays forgotten in the back of a drawer. How cool is that.
  5. I am more confident
    And I should write a book also about this one, because getting rid of chronic insecurity, and often pathologic self-loathing, is something that I achieved with a lot of pain and effort. Actually, I got there just very recently and I might still have some relapses in the future but it does feel so good…
    I just know much better what I want and who I am, I think it’s simple as that. And of course it’s enhanced by the fact that I don’t have issues with food anymore and my weight is stable and that I know what to wear to look good. So again it all boils down to only one thing: I am a much more balanced person and I am more in touch with who I am and with my needs. And that, unless you are naturally born as zen as Buddha, is something you can achieve only with time and experience. Or better (and somehow I still don’t like to say this word :p) with age.

Alright, I’m off to finish another bottle of champagne (another thing I’ve learned to appreciate! Champagne! Mmmhh so good…).

How did age change you? Did you experience any of the changes I noticed? Let me know in the comments below!

xx Al

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1 Comment

  • Reply Tinneke May 25, 2017 at 5:58 am

    Oh, I totally missed out it was your birthday! Congrats and have a great year! I’m also from ’84 😉
    I’m a late bloomer, so getting older is certainly a good thing to me (except the little grey hairs and wrinkles they start to pop up and I can’t eat anymore everything what I want). Maybe I should try your skincare from your latest blogpost, I only use Nivea micellair water héhé :-p
    BUT I’m taking off that makeup every day, which I also sometimes ‘forgot’ to do in my twenties (no I was to lazy or tired after a party).
    I must confess I don’t use sunblock every day, only in the summer. (but I live in Belgium! I know, it’s no excuse ;)) But I started to wear a day cream (Estée Lauder Daywear), which I didn’t do in my twenties.
    Number 4 & 5 are indeed great things that really changed after my twenties. I think everything starts with nr5, it’s so relieving to know yourself much more and what you want. My twenties was searching and partying. Now I find more inner peace and a goal (and better clothes).

    Again beautiful illustrations btw (from latest post too)!!


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