Just a few moments ago, I went to the store to buy a nice bottle of Merlot (my favorite wine). I placed the bottle on the counter to be rung up by the cashier. The cashier; a man that I assumed to be in his early 40’s like myself, had a goatee with flecks of grey. Not a bad looking guy and very friendly. He asked to see my ID and of course I obliged him. He read my drivers license and looked back at me, “No way! No way were you born in 1975! I thought I was older than you” he said in what appeared to be amazement. Without conceit, I have to admit that I am used to this reaction whenever I am carded. I smiled and said, “Yup! It’s true. I was born in 1975“. I’m also used to his next statement (I could almost say it with him) “What’s your secret?” I gave my signature response, “Good genes“. He completed the sale after some brief banter, bagged my bottle and I was on my way.
While sitting in my car, I thought about it; is there anything that I am doing that increases my youthfulness, or is it really just genetic? I am vegetarian and I get at most the minimum amount of exercise in each day, nothing special. Maybe it really is just genetic.
As I began to to drive, I gave it more thought. What if anything am I doing differently? Slowly, some ideas started to materialize.
I’m going to make this perfectly clear before I give you my list. DO NOT STOP READING HERE! I am not going to state what is usually said about “How to stay young”. You know, the typical spiel: eat right, get rest, exercise. Honestly, I don’t do any of those things (even though they are all important). I’m vegetarian, as I said earlier, but a vegetarian lifestyle does not necessarily mean a healthy diet. Most days, I have to remind myself to eat. I’m an insomniac. 3 or 4 hours of sleep for me is a lot! Also, as I said earlier, I get the minimum amount of exercise in daily (and I have to force that sometimes). I’ll add (because most blogs on staying youthful include “Living a stress free” or “Less stressful” life) that I do not live a stress free or less stressful life. I am a mother and an employee. In other words, I. Have. Stress. So what is it that I do?
1- Don’t Call Yourself “Old”
You are what you say you are. If you say that you are old, then you are old and you will behave as such- plain and simple. When I look in the mirror, I see me– the same me that I saw at ages 10, 20, 30, and now 40+. If you do not think about age, then it will not become a factor.
2- Slow Down
Not everything is an emergency. Take time out during each day to breathe. Meditate. Focus. Assess. While doing this, often you will see that the situation isn’t really that urgent. Chill and don’t let little things get you riled up. Appreciate the the things that are presently right.
3- Don’t Act Your Age.
Us 40’s and older folks like to assume that certain things “come with the territory“. Why think of it that way? In fact, why think of it at all if you don’t have to? When you make up your mind that “these things will happen“, guess what? THEY WILL! And if they do, so what? It doesn’t have to interrupt your quality of life and it definitely does not have to affect your mindset. Whether you travel the Earth on two feet or roll through it in a wheelchair, only you have control over your mindset. Remind yourself that you’ve been through things before, and if you continue to have birthdays, you’ll go through more. Push through as you always have.
4- Don’t Carry Other People’s Weight
We all know people who seem to always have “drama” going on that they can’t wait to invade your space with. It’s okay to be an ear or even a shoulder, but leave the conversation at the last syllable. In reality, it’s not your problem. Earthlings will dump all of their issues on each other and as a result, the listener will walk away feeling tired and heavy from things that are not their problems. It’s okay to say to them, “I can’t listen to this anymore. I wish you well and I’m confident that things will work out in the way that they are supposed to“, and keep it moving. Allowing others to interrupt your energy will make you age like a banana.
5- Don’t Assume That Young(er) Means Dumb
Younger people are not dumb, they just have a different perspective on life. Watch them. Listen to them. Learn from them as you’d want them to learn from you. Let some of their youth transfer onto you by association. And shut up sometimes! Let them talk. You might be surprised at what you’ll learn.
6- Try Something New
Don’t let age stop you from being daring and adventurous. Be as vibrant as you ever were. Be crazy! Go to a nudist beach, skydive, bungee jump (do people still do that?). Okay, some of that might be a bit far fetched, but you know what I mean. Break your old fogey, conformist chains and do something different and exciting. Maybe something that you’ve always wanted to do but never did. Revisit or create your bucket list. Awaken your inner child! He/she is probably getting bored…
7- Get Rid of Useless Relationships
As my children have heard me say millions of times : “If it ain’t growing, it’s dead“. Surround yourself only with those who feed you spiritually and or mentally, otherwise you are feeding yourself death. Don’t waste time on trying to change anyone or waiting for them to “get it”. It doesn’t take long to identify whether or not a person belongs in your life. Once an identification has been made and you find that they do not belong, either reassign their position or omit them from your life. There doesn’t have to be hard feelings on your part–only you have control of that, so choose to not have hard feelings. See! I just saved you from Crows Feet!
8- Dance As If No One Is Watching (even if everyone is watching)
Sometimes it’s fun to be foolish, so act a fool sometimes! You all should see me when the dancing mood strikes. I’ll get up and start dancing at any given moment. Am I a good dancer? HELL NO! But it puts me in the good vibes zone. I’m not always at home when this happens. I’m reminded of a day when I was at Journeys shoe store with both of my sons. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen played over the stores speakers and I began to sing along. LOUDLY (yes, even the operatic part). Soon, the sales staff had joined me in singing and acting out the lyrics. My sons were embarrassed but the salespeople and I had a great time. Throw etiquette to the wind now and then. In other words: get the stick out of your ass!
Even if you don’t feel like it. Walk into every room as if you are the star and everyone there is lucky to have you in their presence. Smile at people as though they are stars and you are lucky to be amongst them. Create that atmosphere everyday no matter where you are and your heart will grow more youthful.
10- Don’t Worry About What “They” Say Or Think
“They” can’t live or die for you so be happy and comfortable with who you are. As long as you are not hurting yourself or anyone else– do you! There is a reason why there is only one you and there will never be another– because only YOU can do it! Do not let the “theys” of the world rob you of yourself. If your “circle” can’t subscribe to who you are, create a new circle. The world is HUGE and there are approximately 7.44 billion people in it; there is definitely a genre out there for you.
11- Make The Rules Work For You
I wouldn’t suggest that anyone break laws. The consequences probably wouldn’t be very enjoyable. However, rules are often easily manipulated. Go against the machine sometimes and make the rules work for you on your own terms. Be radical! That’s usually how change occurs.
12- Live Out Loud
Enjoy being you! You only get one time in space to do it. How do I do it? I do it to death!