Live. Love. Laugh… Then Laugh a Little More!
First of all, allow me to say that if you’re feeling unhappy, sad, or in any way negative about growing older or looking older, there’s nothing wrong with that! We feel how we feel and we are entitled to these feelings. So when I try to make you feel happier, I am not (in any way) suggesting you are wrong to feel sad or unhappy. I just want you to be happy – I like your smile.
The loss of youth, a youthful appearance, and of being able to do all we once did can be unsettling. In fact, isn’t it the last two things that get to us the most? I don’t know about you, but the number doesn’t bother me… even when I hit the fifties, I didn’t mind the number. I mean a number is just that… a number. I do mind not being able to walk as far or jog like I used to. I mind not being able to eat certain foods or eat late into the evening like I once did.
And boy oh boy, did I mind the peculiar things that began to happen on my arms (there used to be more tone and definition, if memory serves!), face, and (Lord have mercy) neck.
Seriously… why does the neck turn on a person so quickly?! The one body part it’s almost impossible to cover, camouflage, or paint?!?
We all have moments, don’t we? I almost never stress over appearance, I do my nails, spritz on my perfume, fluff my curls, apply makeup, ask my neck, “Why, though?” and get on with life. I have always (even as a teenager) cared 100 percent more about what was inside a person more than what was outside, including myself.
Whether it’s me or someone else, I am infinitely attracted to a great sense of humor, a love of life, a non-judgmental attitude, and a personality that draws you in its direction. We live in a world that focuses entirely too much on appearance (thanks a lot social media, selfies, and fad diets). How much better would it be if we praised personalities, compassion, being well-read, etc.
NOTHING in the world wrong with wanting to be healthy, look your best, and feel your best – but what’s going on INSIDE is so much more important and I’m willing to die on that hill.
If you’re reading this, odds are you’re feeling a little (or a lot) down about aging. Whether it was something you saw in the mirror (it was the neck, wasn’t it?) or something you weren’t able to do as well as you once were, you may simply have a case of the “sads.”
I want very much to see if I can help you get past the sads and dive head-first into the glads like a puppy in a pile of leaves.
Below are a few tips and tricks of the trade I’ve learned in the fabulous fifties (they really are fabulous in many ways):
- Keep a sense of humor – it will serve you well! I’ve listed this first for a reason – I think it may just be the most important one. Having a sense of humor and being able to see the humor in most situations is vital throughout life, but never more so than in the golden years (50-100+). When you’re laughing, you aren’t ignoring things that bother or bug you (more about those in a minute), you’re simply letting them know you will NOT be brought down by them. You will NOT allow them to trample on your joy or let the air out of your happiness. Laughing doesn’t just feel good, it is healthy for your body and mind. I highly, highly, highly recommend watching The Golden Girls and (if colorful language doesn’t offend you) the Grumpy Old Men movies. They’re hilarious and will absolutely remind you to laugh. The Golden Girls could actually be prescribed therapy for us women who are growing older. They wear it so well and have so much fun with life, it reminds us that we can too!
- Eat right, sleep right, and keep your doctor’s appointments. I want to see you happy, but I also want to see you healthy. Some people get a certain age and they do all they can to avoid doctors. Horrible idea! Getting a great checkup could make a world of difference in how you feel. So very often, someone feels “off” or “not quite themselves” and bloodwork shows that all they need is a little more Vitamin D or Iron. Both of these make a whole world of difference in how you feel. I’ve also found that Magnesium is something else that helps a great deal. Be sure to ask your doctor about each of these. Also, be sure you’re eating right and getting enough sleep. Both are vital to looking and feeling your best.
- Address those things that bug you! If you don’t like something about yourself (weight, hair, skin… whatever), research ways to improve it and get to work. Once you start working on something, you feel instantly better – long before you see even a hint of improvement, you feel a world better.
- Don’t focus on what LEFT… focus on what REMAINS. If you’ve suffered a loss in relationships, family member, health, a pet, home, business, or you feel like you’ve lost a piece of yourself, try very hard not to focus too much energy on what you have lost (or even perceive that you’ve lost). Focus, instead, on what or who remains. It’s a trick many use when dealing with an empty nest. They go from focusing on the child or children who had the audacity to leave the nest (how dare they grow up?!) and they focus on who and/or what remains. When you feel every bit of your age, try to switch your focus to the fact that you’re still bright, still funny, and (on some days) even downright sassy. Don’t spend too much time looking at those gray hairs… look, instead, at how your eyes still sparkle. It sounds simple, but it is absolutely therapeutic. Focus on what remains. Focus on what remains. Focus on what remains.
- Do not look to the future with fear or sadness, look instead at the life you’ve lived with awe and gladness! Think of the love, the laughs, the things you’ve seen, and the things you’ve done. Your life is a wonderful story and it is in NO WAY over yet! Heck, the best chapters may still lie ahead.
I don’t want to keep you much longer, I want you to get out there and enjoy your wonderful life, but I’ll just leave you with this. The next time you’re thinking anything like…
- “I can’t do this, I’m too old…”
- “I will never be okay with how I look..”
- “What is with these creaking knees?”
… I want you to think back on your life. I want you to name times when you were your own hero. Did you overcome cancer, a gallbladder operation, an especially bad car wreck, or a scary trip to the emergency room? Have you had to say goodbye (for now!) to your mom, dad, husband, wife, or other loved one at a funeral home? Did you have a dream home you had to drive away from… or close a business you worked half your life for? Think of the times you’ve had to step up, be tougher than you ever thought possible, and come walking out of the rubble… maybe even limping at first. Now tell yourself, “I’ve lived through the worst. This will be a cakewalk.”
Be your own hero. Hey, you’ve done it before… you’re good at this!
Make each moment count double and stay in the fight! ~ Joi (“Joy”)
Your Story Isn’t Over… It’s Just Getting Good!