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Give youth a chance; EMMA Watson is excited about getting older. At 23, the actress says the ageing process doesn't scare her. In fact, she will embrace it. Emma said: "I'm more interested in women who aren't perfect. They're more compelling." Here, Melanie Harvey and Anna Burnside look back on their 20s...

Byline: Melanie Harvey

WHEN I was in my 20s I used to listen to women in their 40s bemoaning the ageing process and think they were mad.

I got irritated when my mum complained about her lost youth and had no idea why my older friends at work said they envied me.

They had cars, houses, great eyebrows. I had a tiny collection of cheap clothes, a train pass and still lived with my parents. What was to love about being 23? But last week, as I studied my sagging face, I realised that ageing is no fun at all.

And it's expensive. I am at the hairdresser every five weeks to cover up grey roots and don't get me started on the ever-expanding collection of serums and moisturisers that promise to fight off wrinkles. When I was 20, I bemoaned the fact I got asked for ID in clubs. I left university two years later and found myself back in my childhood bedroom, desperate for my own home.

I was determined to wed before I was 30, not because I had any desire to be a wife, I just didn't want to be an old bride.

Now, aged 41, I only carry my driving licence in case I get stopped for speeding, I love the comfort of my parents' house and as for marriage, I wouldn't advise any girl to think about it before she's 30 and definitely not to a man under 35.

I am bemused by women who talk about being contented in their 40s and not giving a hoot about their looks or middle-age spread. "Why fight it?" they ask. Why on earth not? While I love my life, have a happy marriage and the career and car I always dreamed of, I wish I'd cherished my 20s. I was always in a hurry for the next job, the bigger flat, or to meet the man.

I did all that eventually but wasted so much of my 20s worrying about it.

Don't make the same mistake, Emma. Enjoy these years. They will be over before you know it and, despite your millions, youth is something you can't buy back.

'I wish I'd cherished my 20s. I was always in a hurry for the next job, the bigger flat, or to meet the man'

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LEARNING CURVE After graduating at 22, Mel was desperate for her own home
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 1, 2014
Words:402
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