Hey Beautiful, Younger Version of Me,
Let me start out by saying what a fabulous job you’re doing overall. If I remember correctly, my younger self craved praise and held the opinions of others in high regard. I’m happy to report that with each passing year, you will become less concerned about what others think, especially in regards to yours truly! But there are a few things I want you to know, changes you can make, to help us age gracefully and without regret – things you would have no way of knowing if it weren’t for little, old me on this mountain peek over here, where it all seems so clear now. It’s amazing what a different vantage point can do for your health.
For starters, find a hobby or something that brings you joy. If you stumble when someone asks you “What do you do for fun?” that is a major red flag. Because in 15 years your children will most likely be in college or beyond, completely immersed in finding their own path, and maybe they’ve even started families and lives of their own. Of course it is only natural that your daily life is consumed with them right now, but just make sure that your identity is not tied up in their every waking move or you may be lost and unhappy when the fruits of your labor lead your little chicks to become (as they should) independent birds that fly the coop.
Moving on to your health. Make it a priority, NOW! Ask yourself, before putting something in your mouth: Is this providing fuel for the many systems I need to run efficiently for many more years? Or is this a substance that will zap my energy, wreak havoc on my digestive track, or slow down this well-oiled machine? Also, ask yourself, why am I eating or drinking? Am I bored or tired or lonely or stressed or wanting to lose myself in a task that won’t fill me up like I really need? Perhaps I really need a nap, or a walk, or a meditation instead. Please have fun, and don’t obsess over every calorie either, choosing the 80/20 rule instead (80% healthy).
And please move more, I’m begging you. These bones and muscles and tendons need to stay long and lean and gliding smoothly for many more years. It’s amazing what a sedentary lifestyle can do to your skeleton after many years and it’s hard to make up for lost time. That doesn’t mean join a gym where you are sweating and sore every day – just move your body more throughout your day. Choose to stand rather than sit, choose to walk rather than ride, choose to play rather than be still. If you exercise, listen to the internal conversation you are having with yourself. Flock to exercises that make you feel strong and empowered and flee the programs that leave you cursing yourself under your breath as your body registers these events as “stressful” and no one needs more of that. We live in an age where a variety of exercise programs are at your fingertips, so choose JOY!
Oh, and leaking urine or feeling like your innards are playing peekaboo with your vagina is not OK.
Have sex and more of it. If you don’t have a partner, become your own best lover. A woman’s brain is a tangled mess of rapidly firing synapses for most of her life. Orgasm is one of the few times where your brain quiets down and the lights go out. It is a gift to yourself. As you age, your vaginal walls lose their flexibility and willingness to cooperate. Never has the saying “Use it or lose it” been more appropriate. See sex as an opportunity to connect. And remember, sex is not a spectator sport. Don’t analyze your every move (and sound and facial expression) but rather fully immerse yourself in the magic and wonder like an active participant who is mindfully present.
Age gracefully. That doesn’t mean resign yourself to eliminating all beauty regimens and give up or give in to the inevitable ticking clock. But there’s no sense to go kicking and screaming either. Start a healthy regimen to protect your skin and feel free to put makeup on before you leave the house (or don’t, whatever). But resist the urge to dump hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars into the newest beauty craze just to keep up with the world’s view of beauty. Beauty comes from the inside and pours out of you for all to see. Put yourself in the way of beauty each and every day. Take in the sunrise or sunset, really see that elderly couple holding hands and smile to yourself, find joy in the first buds of the spring or the leaves “letting go”. These wonders will be reflected back to all those you come in contact with and will have a more lasting effect than your mascara or anti-aging moisturizer. Plus, they’re free!
And finally, start a gratitude journal. Several times a week, jot down things that went well in your day, funny moments with your spouse or friends, the crazy things your kids said or pets did. Because when you get to this mountain peek over here, you will have moments when you wonder if you really did notice all the beauty of the world around you as you were racing through life doing all the things. And this journal will be the proof that you did, even if for a few small moments, pause and appreciate the tiny things—they are the ones that make all the difference in the end. 😊