I Don’t Need the #10YearChallenge to Tell Me I’ve Hit The Wall



I used to listen to Howard Stern on my drive to work before he moved to satellite radio. (I’ve already dated myself, haven’t I?) On his show, he would often talk about how women “hit the wall” when they turn 35, meaning their looks start to fade and men no longer find them as attractive as they do younger women. As the old joke goes, “It’s time to trade her in for a newer model.” Wink-wink, nudge-nudge, hardy-har-har. 

I didn’t like that kind of misogynistic banter when I first listened to it (I stuck around for Howard’s stellar interviewing skills), but I always remembered this idea of The Wall, and here’s what I now find most annoying about it. Howard Stern was kind of right — not the idea that 35+ year old women aren’t attractive but that our looks start to change around this age. Our youthful vibrancy takes a hit. A glance in the mirror at my 36-year-old face tells me this is true.  

I have hit The Wall. I am still young. I am still beautiful, but those “first signs of aging,” as cosmetic commercials like to call them, have recently and abruptly announced themselves all over my face.

Now that people are posting side-by-side comparisons of their Facebook profile pictures from 10 years ago and today as part of the #10YearChallenge it feels like an appropriate time to bring this up because I’ve been chuckling to myself about it since I first filled out a random online survey and realized I’d been promoted from the 18-35 age category into the 36-55 one. That… felt like quite a leap. 

Despite the emphasis on youth and beauty that’s been coming at me since I picked up my first copy of Seventeen magazine (or, probably more accurately, since I picked up my first Barbie doll), I didn’t pay much attention to the reality that I’d actually age. I’ve always been “the young one” in school, at work, and amongst my friends, so the subtle changes happening to my appearance came as a bit of a shock.

Suddenly, my hair is thinner, limper, and graying at the temples. (I will never figure out why blondes, like my husband, don’t get gray hair for what seems like forever but brunettes like me start sprouting high-contrast wiry strays in our 20s.)

The creases in my forehead are so entrenched that I finally understand why some women get Botox. The fine lines around my eyes highlight the dark circles underneath them, and my lips and cheeks are absolutely devoid of color; blush and lipstick are no longer an optional part of my makeup routine. They are a must.

I weigh about the same as I did 10 years ago, but my body looks a little different now. My cleavage is certainly not perky, which I wrote about in a whole other post, so I’ll spare you the details here. 

Yep, I’ve hit The Wall — or maybe just bumped into it a little. I imagine that in my lifetime as a woman with the audacity to age, The Wall will keep coming at me from here on out. But so far, the signs of aging are minimal, not terribly noticeable, and mostly masked with hair product and makeup. Unless, of course, I’m forced to wear a bathing suit and stand next to a bunch of 20-somethings under direct sunlight on a beach. Then, I’m fairly certain that upon comparison my age will become more noticeable.

And that’s exactly what’s about to happen to me in three months. I’ll be traveling to my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bachelorette party in Florida where I’ll be the oldest one in attendance and at least a decade older than nearly all of the other ladies.

Here’s the weird part — I’m not that worried about it. 

Because I should look older than them. My body is literally 10 years older than theirs (and also birthed two babies, just sayin’). I’m not interested in reversing the signs of aging because I don’t want to erase the evidence of the life I’ve lived over the last decade. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then, to my finely-lined eyes, I look damn good, and I’ve discovered there’s a lot of freedom in owning that. 

I still want to be beautiful; I still want to be considered attractive. Perhaps that’s hypocritical of me — saying I accept that I’m aging but choosing to spend time and money on hair dye and makeup. Maybe… but my personal motto has always been “everything in moderation,” so keeping up my appearance feels like it’s still on brand for me. 

I can care about how I look without chasing the face and body that I used to have. I’d only be fooling myself anyway. And in the process, I’d be short changing my own joy at this stage of life. 

It’s also worth pointing out that I will literally never again be as young as I am today, so why waste any more time fretting over it? And you will most certainly not hear me criticizing my looks in front of my daughter or my son. I may accept The Wall as a reality when it comes to aging, but I will never agree that it determines the value of a woman.

I haven’t officially done the #10YearChallenge yet — not because I’m embarrassed by the way I looked then or how I look now but because my photos can’t tell you about all of the experiences I’ve had and all of the things I’ve learned over the last 10 years, how much more confident I’ve become, how much stronger I am, or how much more love I have since becoming a wife and mother. 

I haven’t done the #10YearChallenge because, for once, a picture is not worth 1,000 words.


  1. Great attitude, Becky! From experience, I can tell you that it gets harder to accept how we look
    (& feel) as we age. The differences we see from 26 to 36 are minimal at best. Image now the difference between the 37 to 67 you! I can, because that’s where I am. And, like you so eloquently stated above, my looks might have diminished, but I have become stronger, more confident, and certainly more loving!

  2. The wall is there to humble beautiful, conceited, self-absorbed and arrogant women. As a young man, these woman would blow me off & not give me the time of day. I was just a side dish. But as fate has it, as I grew older & became more successful & confident, things started changing. More & more younger beautiful women started to take notice of me. I was getting more attention then I ever did in my life. Strangely enough, the same women that I was a side dish to suddenly appeared in my life again. Only this time they were older, nicer, and less attractive. As I stumbled upon their social media, I noticed they all had one thing in common, their current boyfriend was a joke, unattractive & unsuccessful. It all made sense as to why they would be cow towing back to me. The narcissistic self entitlement was still there, thinking they could slide their way back into my life even knowing they were outclassed by my current girlfriend who was a super model. Try as they did, it was fun to see their efforts to win me over fail. Having accepted defeat, they went back home & settled for Mr. good enough. Women who are beautiful inside & out, will have a loving, handsome & successful man by their side til the end of their days.
    The wall is there as reminder that to those who are humble will reap the rewards.


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