Right, I have a confession to make.
You’ve come here out of nosiness and it isn’t going to be rewarded; this isn’t a picture of me from ten years ago, and one of me now, with a caption lamenting the passing of my youth.
It’s – shock horror – a little rant instead.
I’m sorry. I tricked you.
If you haven’t seen the ten year challenge, or puberty challenge, which is currently taking over social media then I’ll briefly explain.
I don’t know where it’s come from although I can’t pretend I’ve looked into it that well. My husband reckons it’s Facebook doing their usual stalky thing and testing their facial recognition age progression software which may well be true, but for most it’s a bit of harmless fun.
Whatever the reason, people are getting stuck in and it’s everywhere.
The idea of the ‘challenge’ is to dig out a photograph of yourself pre-puberty.
Or, if you happen to be in your mid-30s and digital cameras weren’t invented back then so you’d have to sneak into your parent’s house and steal actual physical photos, a picture from ten years ago will do.
You then upload this photograph alongside one taken more recently with the caption ‘I got old‘, ‘And I thought I was fat back then… what did I know?!’ or a variation of.
The point is of course to then collect as many kind comments from your Facebook friends claiming you don’t look a day older at all, which is nice and all, but likely to be a big, fat lie.
Sorry to break it to you.
OF COURSE YOU GOT OLDER.
A WHOLE DECADE HAS PASSED.
Unless you happen to have a portrait of yourself in the attic ageing rapidly, or you have a remarkable plastic surgeon and a lot of money, then it’s an inevitability of life that as you get older your face will line, you will begin to sag and your hair will start growing through grey (if you give it the chance, which reminds me I must phone my hairdresser).
Let’s look at it this way; it would be really weird if in ten whole years you had not aged at all, particularly if you happen to have birthed small humans in the mean time.
That shit ages you exponentially, it does. Especially if they are one of those babies that climbs up stuff when you’ve got your back turned.
It is of course, entirely possible to look better in a photo taken now than one you uploaded to Facebook in 2009.
A little weight loss or gain, better make up application skills, a nicer and more expensive hair cut, better phone cameras and of course filters (thank heavens for small mercies eh), maybe the realisation that duck faces and uploading every photo from your night out to Facebook is a bad idea…
And you might be in a much better place. You might have grown in confidence, in love, your life may be significantly better than it was a decade ago. I hope it is.
All of these things and more mean that in 2019, we might look back at our photos from 2009 and think actually we’ve done alright, which is fabulous. Hopefully we can look back in another ten years and think the same, that’s my plan anyway.
But the truth is to all the people who know you, in real life, who know your face, then the fact – however horrifying – is that whatever you have gone through in the past ten years, however you have grown as a person and whatever your hair looks like, you will have aged.
As will they. And everyone else.
And there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with looking ten years older than you did ten years ago.
No need to self-deprecate. No need to caveat or apologise for something so wildly beyond your control.
No is immune to the ageing process. No one can turn back time. Not even Cher.
Ageing is as depressing as you want it to be really, but put bluntly, growing older is definitely not the worst thing that can happen.