Emma Beddington is feeling inspired to begin anew as she and Kate Moss both reach the age of 50.
Please keep those of us born in 1974 in your thoughts and prayers as we witness the milestone news of Kate Moss turning 50. The media has extensively covered the event, but for those who may not be aware, here are the key details: Moss went on a “spiritual retreat” in Mustique and then traveled by private jet to Paris for a party where she stunned in a vintage sheer lace dress. Among the guests were Venus Williams and Stella McCartney, although there were no intrusive paparazzi photos, indicating that it was primarily a gathering of her close friends. The entire affair exuded elegance and lacked any scandal, fitting for a 50-year-old fashion icon who has nothing left to prove.
It will be several months before it’s my turn, but it’s clear that my 50th birthday will involve less wearing a catsuit and more crying while eating crisps. It might be a challenging year for my self-esteem as my peers, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Victoria Beckham, Robbie Williams, Penélope Cruz, and Chloë Sevigny, all turn fifty. Do you remember in secondary school how some kids in your class looked much older or younger than their actual age because of genetics and gender? Well, turning fifty seems to be the same – some of us (like me) look like we’ve been dug up from an ancient tomb after multiple grave robbings, while others like Moss still look amazing despite years of smoking and partying.
I understand that it may seem foolish to compare myself, a regular person, with celebrities of the same age. It is no different than comparing myself to other people who share my astrological sign or those named Emma. However, this behavior comes naturally to us – we start doing it with our peers in school (and if you did not, you must have been a well-adjusted oddball). Some of us never outgrow this habit, constantly second-guessing our choices and feeling unsatisfied with our own perceived shortcomings in areas such as career, appearance, and living situation. The famous individuals simply make it easy for us by being so publicly successful (and being able to pull off a sheer dress).
Some individuals do not engage in certain behaviors, such as being carefree, hydrated, and focused on their own paths. My closest companion was not even aware of famous people who share her appearance; I had to encourage her to search for them online (“Heath Ledger, that’s a good starting point. Pete Doherty? Oh my goodness.”). I cannot fathom having a strong enough understanding of myself to not compare myself to others: there must be an abundance of spare time and mental energy. How do you utilize it – read Proust? Understand global politics? Make a beneficial impact on the world?
Allowing others to bring me down has actually had a beneficial impact on my life. Without the motivation from feeling inadequate, I may have never accomplished anything. Although, I can’t say for sure if I would have been happier. As I reach my 50s, I realize it’s time to release the source of my unhappiness.
Most of my twins do not lead perfect lives. You can see this in the Netflix documentary about Robbie Williams, as fame has made him very vulnerable and we do not know what void in Leonardo DiCaprio causes him to date women he could have fathered. When I spoke to some high school seniors last year, their disdain for his dating preferences was quite entertaining. Even Moss cannot have a birthday celebration without numerous news sources making it strange, and people like me commenting on it.
I hope it is not too late to make a change – Moss has started to engage in activities such as wild swimming, moonbathing, and meditation. In an effort to motivate myself, I attempted to imagine my birthday being described like hers. “A somber Beddington appeared relaxed, wearing a worn Millets fleece as she shopped alone at her local Boots store. She ultimately purchased a tube of Canesten and a pack of sweet chilli Snack A Jacks. At a nearby bus stop, the melancholic freelancer snacked on the rice-based treat, exchanged a comment with a passing pigeon, and checked her phone for any birthday wishes from absent friends.” The thought horrifies me. Perhaps there is truly nothing worth envying?
, author and blogger.
Emma Beddington writes for The Guardian, is a published author, and runs a blog.
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