As I stand in the bathroom with one arm outstretched at a 40 degree angle and the other wrapped around my head holding my face up and back, tongue out and breathing out loudly I have to ask myself...am I aging gracefully? What does that even mean? Does it mean that I will be content with fine lines and wrinkles that most experience at my age or a body that lacks energy and strength? Heck NO.... Don't get me wrong. I am not at all ashamed of my age nor do I think one must act their age or dress their age or any of that other nonsense. I am a 44 year old woman that thinks aging gracefully means fighting it all the way....
Let me explain.
|My son and I ten years later. October 2012|
|My son and I. October 2014|
I try to live a clean life....less toxins, less processed foods, less prescriptions, less worry -let's face it; less is more. And although stress and worry is a little hard to avoid these days with the pending divorce and life changes I make sure that I am not consumed by it all. I give myself the days I need to morn my old life and stress about my future or the "process" (I call it my fetal position moments) but most days I appreciate what is in front of me and the relationships I do have. I eat healthy and by that I mean whole foods with the occasional treat. Life is about experiences and food to me is one of the best ways you can experience a culture. I cut out most of the toxins in my skin, body, hair and cleaning products. I exercise regularly. But for me the number one way of staying young is to learn new things and having new experiences.
Here are a few things that will help slow down time.
- Dress for you: Don't worry if you think it is too trendy for your age or your daughter says you are dressing like a teenager, dress for yourself. As long as you pick clothing that fits you appropriately and makes you feel good inside... wear it. We face so many negatives in a day so why not face it feeling confident and beautiful? And a frilly little dress never hurt anyone.
- Eat: Take time to enjoy your food. I know everyone is in a rush and we seldom have time to sit down and enjoy a meal but food is such a pleasure. Dieting and fast food will kill all the joys of eating. My rule about food: Cook your food- you will know exactly what goes into it, Listen to your cravings- if it a sweet or something truly bad for you then just have a nibble of it (I'll have three bites) and snack in between meals- I always have carrots -sweet crunchy ahhh.
- Exercise: Sorry but exercise is a very important age retardant. Moving gets your circulation going- circulation keeps your skin radiant. The benefits to the skin alone gets me working out at least 3 times a week but my whole body benefits- posture is better, energy is up, and I am strong. Not like a body builder but I feel strong and vibrant which gives me confidence. Take a walk, clean the house, hit the gym, take a bike ride....JUST move for 30 minutes a day along with some kind of weight lifting.
- Skincare: I make most of mine but there are so many non-toxic skincare products out there that are just as effective as ones chock full of them...we have options people! Your skin is your largest organ and what you put on it goes IN it. Check out my toxic post from the past.
- Skew your view: Where you were, where you are now and where you are going. Mistakes and/or experiences have molded you and made you the person you are today so stop judging yourself harshly and move forward. Take the time to appreciate the moments in your day whether it is a conversation with a friend or a cup of coffee on a chilly morning or a quiet morning without interruptions; the more we re-train our minds to think positively the more it will happen on its own. It is too easy to get caught up in the negative....What's the saying? Make lemonade out of lemons, when life hands you lemons squirt someone in the eye...well, you get what I'm saying.
- Learn something: Keeping your brain active and body excited is my number one secret to aging gracefully. How can you NOT feel young when you are doing something for the first time. I love that awkward feeling and complete concentration when doing a task that is unfamiliar. Why can't we experience something new for the first time in our 40's...50's.....60's? This year alone I am learning to cook, taken archery lessons, became a server in a taproom once a week, taking accounting classes, practicing facial yoga (as described in my first sentence) and in the process of learning to brew beer. Of course expanding on all these things should keep me busy for many months and/or years but that's the point isn't it? Keep learning peeps.
You really don't need to live by anyones standard....do what feels right, don't take yourself too seriously, and learn to let things go.