Growing up in the south, I had always heard it wasn’t polite to ask a woman her age. Women of a certain age just didn’t reveal how old they really were. For the longest time, I thought this was because it was something to be ashamed of. That we should keep this secret because women didn’t feel they were getting better with age. That youth was the ultimate prize and older women were all washed up.
This may have been the case for some women but now I’m thinking it was something else. Maybe as you get older you begin to realize that age is just a number you buy into. That if you don’t bring it up and don’t make a big deal about it then you can go about your life being as vibrant and beautiful as you want to be.
I don’t discuss age very often because it’s really a non-issue to me. And believe it or not, I feel better about myself in my mid-40s than I ever did at 25. There’s just so much self-doubt and insecurity in those years that you can’t fully appreciate your youth and what you really have.
In all honesty though, when I hit about 37, I started to get a
little freaked out about certain lines under the eyes and the few gray hairs that started to appear. For several years, I went on a full-on attack to defeat this aging process. I was not embracing it. My beauty assault seemed to be working but for every flaw I felt I had fixed, I always managed to find another one waiting. The more I looked for the flaws the more I saw, real or imagined.
Besides the fact that this was costing me a fortune, I instinctively knew this was not how I wanted to feel going into the second half of my life. I didn’t want to be standing on guard for the next wrinkle to fill in or to be researching the latest painful, jaw-tightening treatment. I knew the line had been crossed when I shelled out $400 for a tube of prescription Retin-A that I had boot-legged from one of my clients. Really? This was madness!
And then one day, I just stopped looking in the mirror. I literally stopped looking at myself. If I couldn’t look in the mirror and genuinely like what I saw, then I just wasn’t going to look. If I didn’t have anything nice to say then I wasn’t going to play that game anymore. I was tired of playing the “mean girl” game with myself.
It was hard at first. Being so concerned about your appearance doesn’t just vanish overnight. Especially with all the pressure women are under today to be youthful and perfect. But over time, I stopped wanting to look and to honestly become comfortable in my own skin with my own 40-something face.
I stopped with the Botox, the chemical peels, spending thousands of dollars on skincare that promised to work miracles. I just simply began embracing how life was naturally shaping my look. All these things needed to be taken away for me to get to a place of peace. It became a challenge to become okay with who I was.
Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with any of these things. I’m not promising I won’t add these things back to my life at some point either. But I needed to step away from the self-inflicted scrutiny for a while. I needed to slowly accept who I was and learn to love her, wrinkles or no wrinkles.
My Formula for the Fountain of Youth
I believe we should celebrate whatever stage of life we’re in. I want to share some natural things I feel contribute to a youthful and vibrant appearance. Everybody can do these! They’re things I incorporate into my own life and I hope you’ll give them a try!
- Sleep – I am a HUGE advocate of getting plenty of quality sleep. I won’t sacrifice this for anything. I typically get at least 8 hours a night.
- Daily Exercise & Stretching – I get in some form of exercise most days of the week. It might be a brisk walk, a 20 min yoga video or I might hit the weights. It doesn’t have to be super intense to be effective! Also, I do a quick 5 min stretch every morning and evening. This is VERY important as you get older. Being tight and stiff is definitely something that makes you look older than you are.
- Keep Stress Levels Low – Having a low-stress environment is critical for me. I just won’t tolerate drama, confusion and chaos. The older I get, the more I know that when you’re relaxed and peaceful, you just look younger. Stress will age you FAST! Get a handle on how to deal with your life and become less tolerant of the drama. Your face will thank you!
- Lay off the low-carb diets – I know that going low-carb can be a quick and effective way to drop a few pounds but I honestly don’t feel it’s a good long-term solution for most women. We need carbs, Ladies! I feel that if you eat this way too long, it begins to have an aging effect on the body. Besides, women over 40 don’t need to be too lean, IMHO. I think it’s aging. Eat some carbs and some fat, be happy, look youthful! Haha!
- Keep Learning new things – If you’re constantly learning and growing, you stay more engaged and happy with life. It’s when people get stagnant that they get bored and feel old. When you’re young, you’re naturally curious about everything. Stay young in your mind and you’ll come across as healthy and alive no matter how old you are!
- Keeping Your Long Hair – This is just a personal observation but it seems women who keep their hair long or at least shoulder length give off a more youthful appearance. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but have you seen Christie Brinkley or Sophia Loren, lately? Just sayin.
What do you do to stay youthful and vibrant? Let us know in the comments!
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