So why does life get better once you leave your 30s behind? That’s the question Jill Arnold, a senior lecturer in Psychology at Nottingham Trend University asked a group of women. At the age of 59, she felt that talking to other women about then—lives and experiences might help her to understand. Along with her photographer daughter, she launched a project to find out how women view themselves as they get older. Arnold and her daughter interviewed and photographed 50 women aged between 45 and 65. Far from meeting frumps and grumps, they found people who were funny, creative and surer of themselves then ever before. “I think the increased confidence comes from knowing what you want,” says Arnold. “By the time they reach middle age, many women have spent years pursuing their careers and devoting all their energy to their children. Now they are looking forward to doing more things independently, even selfishly.” One woman told me that she’d always thought she would feel isolated as she grew older. But her life is fuller than ever and she has a long list of things she wants to do with her time as soon as she retired. ” Arnold believes that although older women still feel under pressure to look good, they think to themselves: “I will try to find a way that is convenient for me.” She says: It’s not that these women don’t care what anyone thinks any more. They know that they will be the judge. But they are more confident about the choices they make.