Kindness is the new rock and roll

— by Alyson Walsh


One of the best things about developing That’s Not My Age over the years, has been the creation of a network of fantastic women. I am always impressed by the thoughtful comments following a post, and the discussion that ensues. I particularly like it when helpful information is shared between readers; this kindness pleases me, no end. As it is International Women’s Day today, I thought I’d take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to all the women who read That’s Not My Age, thank you for the continued loyalty and support and thank you for taking the time to comment. This site wouldn’t be the same without you.

I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness, lately. Everything is so binary these days: politics, social media, we live in a like-it-or-loathe-it world. Where trading insults on Twitter has become an everyday occurrence. Call me an old hippy but I do believe in karma. The cycle of getting back what you give. Research shows that random acts of kindness benefit both the giver and the receiver, and provide health advantages (thanks to Sue Burpee at High Heels in the Wilderness for the second link). Kindness is good for you. When the atmosphere is completely divided (as it has been in the UK and the USA for the last couple of years) and rudeness is commonplace, being kind is the complete antithesis. Kindness is the new rock and roll (or if you read – being nice is the new punk rock).

The BBC’s chief foreign correspondent Lyse Doucet spoke about kindness on receiving an honorary doctorate from Sussex University, largely in relation to her position as an international correspondent, but still, ‘ Without kindness where would we be?’ And Lucy Mangan in Stylist magazine recently suggested, ‘Kindness might be all we have right now.’

For a while I’ve been meaning to explain why I’ve started moderating the comments on That’s Not My Age; and it is me moderating them not an admin team or a bot – so if your thoughts don’t appear immediately, please do please bear with me. I might be away from my desk or offline, particularly if I’m writing a freelance feature or interviewing someone.

With online as in the real world, not everyone is going to agree all of the time. And that’s fine by me. Really, it is. I like hearing different opinions, just as long as they’re respectful and kind, not rude or insulting. I can handle constructive criticism, but occasionally a comment gets personal. And that can be quite jarring. Sometimes it’s aimed at me, but mostly it relates to other women featured on That’s Not My Age. ‘She looks like a clown’, or, ‘Is this a joke?’ are a couple of examples. I won’t go on. In the grand scheme of online trolling and Twitter spats this may not seem like such a big deal. But women have a hard enough time as it is, particularly when we have misogynists running countries and managing businesses. We should support each other, rather than criticise.

This is my professional website and as a freelance journalist I treat it as an online portfolio. It’s got my name on it and so I’m not going to publish anything negative or spiteful, particularly when it’s aimed at another woman. Don’t get me wrong, the vast majority of That’s Not My Age comments are brilliant and insightful and I thoroughly enjoy the interaction. Thank you for continued support and generosity, it’s very much appreciated. Enjoy International Women’s Day.

It’s cool to be kind.


This ‘Nothing But Kindness’ sweatshirt is from Smith Webb and £5 goes directly to the mental health charity Mind.

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  One of the best things about developing That’s Not My Age over the years, has been the creation of a network of fantastic women. I am always impressed by the thoughtful comments following…