On Aging "Gracefully" (or with as Little Self-Loathing as Possible)

On Aging "Gracefully" (or with as Little Self-Loathing as Possible)

Apparently, on my 35th birthday, I’ve decided to write an entire post on aging gracefully. Which is quite ironic seeing as I purposely removed my birthday from facebook purely so that I would not be reminded of this day nor let anyone else know about it either.

I remember thinking it was sad when people removed their birthday year from facebook. And apparently, 35 is the year that I remove it too. 🙂

Disclaimer: I’d first like to apologize to anyone reading this post who is older than 35 and already insulted. I completely understand if you want to punch me in the throat right now.

In fact, I feel the same way when 20-something chicks complain about dark circles under their eyes and PMS.

But this is where I’m at. And at 35 (far more than 30) this has definitely been my most dreaded birthday yet. And it really didn’t help when one of my older, male clients so kindly noted that I’m now officially “MIDDLE-AGED.”

Middle-aged, UGH! Really?! I also remember thinking 35 was “sooooooo old.”

And well, a few moves across the country, career changes and crow’s feet later, here I am. Yet, I still feel like I’m 25! And I’m pretty sure I still act like it too…

I’m still flying solo, still renting an apartment downtown. Still blowing money on stupid, frivolous shit and swearing like a trucker. Still making yearly trips to Vegas that entail minimal sleep and maximum partying (definitely not helping with said crow’s feet situation.) I still giggle like an idiot over everything and stare at the ground whenever a hot dude passes by. And I still haven’t a clue what RRSPs are or the direction that my “career” is headed in.

And yet, in many ways, I really do feel better than ever (minus the forever-worsening PMS symptoms.) Seriously, WHY all of a sudden, must I retain water and cramp as though I’ve been bathed and drowned in pickle juice for an ENTIRE WEEK every single month?!?!

All bloating and PMS-related episodes aside, however, I’ve really been feeling a little verklempt on turning 35. And this is why:


Before I ever got into vegan bodybuilding and long before I ever became a vegan coach, I actually did marketing and investor relations for various mining/oil and gas companies.

samantha shorkey marketing and communications managerI can remember working for this one investment banking firm in particular and their “Investor Relations Manager” was quite the interesting character. He was very Scottish, very lazy, and truth be told: I could not stand him.

He was a drinker, a smoker, a womanizer and very set in his old-school ways of luring in investors.

He also had this weird, filthy habit of making his investor calls–feet up on desk–picking at his nails and cuticles with an array of manicure/self-torture tools he kept inside his desk drawer.

The very smell of his expensive designer cologne mixed with white wine and stale cigarettes was enough to make my skin crawl. And it did.

And yet, for whatever reason, hearing this man once say “there’s something wrong with any woman over 35 who’s never been married” just stuck with me.

For some stupid reason, I had it drilled into my head that if I ever hit 35 and I’m a single/unmarried woman, I have failed at life. It would mean that my best years are behind me and many years of therapy lie ahead.

And yet, here I am today, celebrating my 35th birthday UNMARRIED and you’re damn right, I’m reflecting…

Is there something “wrong” with me? Am I fucked up?

My immediate answer is “yes.” But just like we’re all a little “veg-curious,” aren’t we all a little “fucked up” too?

Perhaps the most “fucked up” part of all: that very same Scottish sleazeball ended up MURDERED in cold blood (because of money) just months after I had left Vancouver.

Didn’t see that one coming, eh?

Crazy, horrible and sad, YES. But my point is that given the circumstances, this man’s opinion should have NO bearing on my life WHAT-SO-EVER. And yet, it REALLY did!

Well folks, today I am 35, unmarried, no kids, no problems and healthy as can be. It is 12pm on a beautiful summer afternoon in Toronto, Ontario and I am hanging out with one of my best pals. I’m drinking gourmet coffee on her patio and I’m doing my most favourite thing in the whole wide world: blogging.

Somehow, I’ve been able to turn my passions for story telling, veganism and bodybuilding into a self-sustaining, full-time career and even employ my sister in the process. <3

sarah and samantha shorkey jacked on the beanstalk the podcast vegan podcast hosts

I have accomplished almost every personal and professional goal that I have set out to do. And as a self-employed “entrepreneur,” I get to live out everyday exactly how I want.

Sure, 10 years ago, if you had asked me where I’d be at 35, I probably would’ve said “living in the suburbs with my perfect husband, pushing a stroller on nightly power walks with the other milfs on the block.” But imagining that scenario right now, I’m laughing because there’s no frigging way I’d have the time to run my vegan coaching biz let alone write blog posts or record podcasts.

Now don’t get me wrong, had I met the “(vegan) man of my dreams” somewhere along the line, I obviously would’ve tried to juggle everything and I’m sure I could adapt as necessary. But instead, I dated a LOT. And I traveled a lot. And I learned a LOT from every relationship and experience including what I like and don’t like and what makes me an awesome person and what things I still need to work on.

I can acknowledge and learn from the many lessons and blessings I’ve had through my relationships with people who’ve come into my life. And I can now weave stories of my own experiences into the lives of others and even actually LEARN from my mistakes instead of thinking it’s everyone else who’s fucked up like I used to think. 🙂

And thankfully, pretty early on in my adult years, I realized how much I hated working in mining & oil and gas. And how so many of us are driven by greed and the desire for power, popularity and money. And over time, I’ve learned that when we become obsessed with these external things, they become a reflection of our inner experience. Then our judgment becomes impaired and our ethics get compromised.

On turning 35, I am proud of the fact that I have created (and all by myself) a passion-based, vegan business that aligns with who I am and what I believe in.

I might be a slacker, hypocrite and procrastinator at times but I can honestly say that in this business, I have never cut corners or compromised my integrity or values for anyone or anything.

samantha shorkey vegan fitness model vegan coach on turning 35It’s been 27 years since I’ve eaten meat and six of those years have been vegan.

And I think I’m looking pretty aiiiiiight for “middle-aged.” 🙂

So my 35-year-old wisdom to anyone reading this post is this:

Whether you’re 20 or 60, please let us all stop being so frigging hard on ourselves and be grateful for where we are and what we have RIGHT NOW.

Let us stop thinking that external fulfillment comes from the outside world and that ONCE we have the perfect body, THEN we’ll be confident and happy.

[bctt tweet=”Let us stop thinking that ONCE we have the perfect body, THEN we’ll be confident and happy.” username=”samanthashorkey”]

I know getting older sucks but it’s happening whether we like it or not! I’m all for being the healthiest and most attractive I can be for as long as possible. But I think many of us really need to put less emphasis on our physical self-improvement and dedicate wayyyyy more time to doing the inner work. And part of that means positive reflections!

And so, despite being “middle-aged” and not happy about it, I put together a list of things that are awesome about being 35. Would love to hear any additions you have too. Here ’tis:

Reasons Why Being 35 is Awesome:

  • I’ve mastered the perfect makeup and skin care routine
  • I kill it in the kitchen
  • I put up with less shit
  • I’m no longer living pay cheque to pay cheque
  • I have a legitimate “career”
  • I don’t take things so personally
  • I appreciate and get to enjoy the “finer” things in life
  • I know what my strengths and weaknesses are
  • I know who my true friends are
  • I know what foods feel best for my body
  • I know what clothes best flatter my body
  • I know what I like in bed
  • I’m open to new experiences… in every respect 😉
  • I appreciate my family so much more
  • I actually trust my own intuition
  • I carry myself with grace and elegance

And yes, I realize this post is turning into a novel (which is especially ironic considering I was hesitant to even write the damn thing in the first place.) But I do want to end it with a gentle reminder to us all that a truly happy person can never be old or ugly. 🙂

Cue “Benjamin Button” quote!

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

Happy aging, vegan fit crew!

– Sam Shorkey, Jacked on the Beanstalk

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  • Steve : October 01, 2018

    Holy crap Sam! You have got it goin’ on! I’ve been vegan for 6 years and haven’t had meat since 2010. I work out less than I did but am still in decent shape. Reading your posts makes me want to be the best person I can be. Your picture is so fucking hot! Holy shit! I popped wood! I’m a trucker so I guess I’m allowed that one outburst. But seriously, I personally think you are more attractive now. You are fricking gorgeous. And your values and personality are even hotter. Keep being you and if you are still available at 40 I’m coming to Canada to wooo you. You’re the best!

  • Sarah Pirri: July 28, 2017

    I’m starting to feel the same way! I look back at my mid-twenties, and I’m a totally different person. I don’t miss it one bit! Thanks so much for the awesome advice!! It means a lot to me <3 I can't wait to hear about poop and hormones :D LOL

  • Sam: July 28, 2017

    Haha and you are the cutest, ego-boosting, 29-year-old babe on the internet! ;) Thanks for the kind words and seriously, you have all the time in the world so embrace the journey and do your thang. And my best words of advice from my 35-year-old self to my 29-year-old self would definitely be to stop seeing myself as this constant self-improvement project and instead, focus on self-discovery. :)

  • veronica: July 28, 2017

    I just turned 29 yesterday and have been reflecting a lot on things and where I want my life to go. This post was very uplifting and insightful! Love your blog … you are the hottest 35 year old on the internet babe! Keep rocking it!

  • Sam: July 26, 2017

    Awww so awesome to hear from you! And thanks for the love and support as always <3 I swear man, all these frigging toxic chemicals that we're exposed to EVERY SINGLE DAY through our food, products we use, household shit and even the air we breathe is seriously wreaking havoc on our hormones. I'm honestly terrified to buy anything that isn't organic or contains ingredients I don't know what it is. Call it getting paranoid, call it getting old. Life is hard. And surprisingly enough, 30 wasn't quite as big of a deal for me. And truthfully, I LOVE my 30s. Definitely better than 20s because I have so much more wisdom and life experience. I'm actually gonna write a post all about PMS and hormonal stuff soon. But in the meantime, we're working on a poop-themed podcast. :) Stay tuned for that dump! You have all the time in the world to make babies, lovely. Don't even stress for two minutes about it. Eat well. Try not to stress. Fuck lots. And be grateful for all the beauty in your life xo

  • Sarah Pirri: July 25, 2017

    1) Awesome blog post!! 2) you totally look 25 (both inside and out lol, swearing and all!) 3) Not going to lie, but I’ve also felt a little weary about turning 30 in September. I’ve had the worst luck with hormones and trying to conceive before I was 30; but honestly, fuck it! I’ve accomplished so much over the last few months that most people take YEARS to do. And for that, bring it on DIRTY 30!

  • Sam: July 24, 2017

    Awww thank you, Michelle! Glad you enjoyed it. I actually keep thinking about this post and then coming back and adding more and changing it haha. Not sure whether that’s a good or a bad thing?? Nevertheless, thanks for the kind words, birthday wishes and ego boost xo

  • Michelle T: July 24, 2017

    I LOVE this post Sam! As always, your honesty and humour are inspiring and exactly what women who are going through the same struggles need to hear. Don’t doubt for a second that you are on the perfect path made just for you. Happy 35th Birthday! (Cue the fireworks…) xoxo PS: you still look 25

  • Sam: August 08, 2017

    Hi Claire! If muscle gains is your main goal, you just gotta make sure you’re eating enough protein. My fave sources are protein powder, beans, tofu, tempeh and seitan. Greens and beans, girl. And try to center your meals around soups, salads, scrambles and smoothies. Lots of recipes in my e-book or of course, I’m happy to write a customized food plan for you. Either way, try to stick to whole foods for the most part, make sure you’re sticking to green veggies as much as possible and LIFT HEAVY!!! Good luck, girl!!

  • Claire: August 07, 2017

    Hi there…I’m just going veggie and want to build up some muscle and I’m getting close to 35 ….I’ve had 2 kids and want to get bck my old body !!!what veggie food is best for this ?

  • Sam: August 02, 2017

    Aww thanks for the kind words, Lena! And 40 is the new 30 anyway :) I wish my writing alone was my full-time gig but alas, my online vegan coaching is what pays the bills and the blogging/podcasting brings it all full circle.

  • Lena: July 31, 2017

    Sam, I love this post! I’m going to be 40 in November and still feel 25! It’s bad how scared we are about getting older, but I’ve been feeling the same way. I’m a writer and started writing an article about age last week and came across your post today! I would love to find out how you made your writing a full-time career.

  • Sam: July 31, 2017

    Hahaha I love this!! Thanks Shane!! Hope the vegan diet is still in full effect and you’re seeing positive health benefits as a result. All the best!

  • Shane Fistell: July 30, 2017

    Happy Birthday,Samantha! I kill it it in the kitchen,with a fly swatter. I put up with less shit…how mush less,I don’t give a… . I’m no longer living pay cheque to pay cheque,…I don’t get a pay cheque. I have a legitimate career-I’m not a lawyer. I don’t take things so personally;I give things personally. I know what my strengths and weaknesses are;and I have a weakness for knowing what my strengths are. I know who my true friends are,and I know who the truly false friends are. I know what what foods feel best for my body-vegan ice cream. I know what clothes flatter my body-the loose ones. I know what I like ion bed-me,my cat,and a blanket. I’m open to new experiences in every respect;except bad experiences. I appreciate my family so much more…when they’re not around.(I love them) I actually trust my own intuition more than I trust other peoples’ intuition. I carry myself with grace and elegance,until somebody has to carry me. Hoping I made your birthday a bit happier, Hoping to hear from you,one day. Yours truly, Shane

  • Sam: July 28, 2017

    Actually I’m literally reading about “period poop” as we speak! Yes, it’s a thing! Get ready for the info DUMP on this hot (and steamy) topic next week on the podcast ;)

  • Sam: August 26, 2017

    Awww this just made my day!! <3 Thank you sooooooo much for sharing, Elin! And it’s funny. I was just saying to someone yesterday (who is soon to be 40) “remember when we were 20 and 40 seemed soooooooo old?!?!?!” And how, now we’re here and we still feel like we’re 20 haha. And I kinda hope that I always feel this way (even if I don’t look it.) It really is sad that we have this stigma around getting old and have been brainwashed with terms like “anti aging” when it comes to our skin care regimens and beauty routines as though aging (a completely NATURAL part of life) is something to avoid and fight against. Your comment was incredibly uplifting and inspiring so thank you for the kind words (and ego boost.) I really am trying to focus more on self-discovery these days and less on self-improvement. And I find just checking in with myself more often and asking “if this was my last month on Earth and I had no hope of changing my body, how would I spend my time right now?” has been incredibly eye-opening. Anyway, please keep the rambles coming. Sincerely appreciate you sharing your thoughts and hope that I can continue to keep “accomplishing” in life xo

  • Elin: August 25, 2017

    I like to look at it this way. We think people are old based on our reference point. A 10-year-old is definitely a lot older from the view of a 5-year-old. A 25-year-old is old to a 15-year-old. My grandma who is 85 calls my 62-year-old dad “kid.” It all depends on where you’re at on the time ladder. So I don’t worry about it. We’re inching up on the ladder and we’re still having fun, so all is good. And also, look at you. You have accomplished so much. You run your own business. You are one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. (And I’m not saying this to make you feel good, I am just stating a fact here). You are ahead in life, in my opinion. The survival of our species is not at stake and hasn’t been for a long time. (In fact, there are way too many of us). So I don’t get this continued obsession with starting a family and having babies as the ultimate purpose in life. If you don’t want kids or don’t want them yet, well there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Have the life you want to live. You already know what not following the herd is like, ever since you chose to stop eating meat and later, all animal products. Being the weird kid and the weird bodybuilder didn’t deter you then. Aging and all the BS prejudice that comes with it shouldn’t deter you now. Yes society and the media only presents the view of young people. It seems to tell us that you’re only relevant if you’re between 15-25, and this especially counts for women. Men can get away with wrinkles and grey hair. If they keep fit that is. I remember thinking it was weird at 15 that everything seemed to be geared towards my age group. Fashion, movies, films, technology, etc. The further you get away from that age group, the less relevant you feel. My parents, when watching TV, will only find people of their age getting roles as the parent or grandparent. They are never protagonists, because apparently, your life is only worth noting when you’re wrinkle free. But yeah, that’s why I think that around the 30 years of age, the mass panic sets in. I’m 29 and ever since I brought pie to work to celebrate that fact, I keep getting comments about how I’m not young anymore and that in a few years I’ll get fat and ugly and that I should hurry and find a guy to settle down with, and “you’re running out of time to get a baby!” This includes guys. I have a genetic condition that basically makes it impossible for me to have kids without dying, but even if I didn’t, that info is so outdated, it actually stems from research from women in the 1800’s. I told my male colleague that if I were to have a kid, I’d adopt one or foster one, and he basically sputtered that it was the purpose of being a woman, to have a child. (I asked him what his purpose was then since we technically no longer need men to have said child. He has since shut up). Anyway, sorry for rambling on this long, it’s just that I see a lot of posts about this topic pop up and it makes me a little sad that beautiful accomplished women like you are made insecure about this.

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