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Three elderly women standing outdoors, smiling, portrait

Several years ago, my husband and I threw ourselves a party. We had spent a good portion of our married life building our dream house, and we wanted to share it with everyone we ever met. So we dragged out our old wedding invitation list, added it to our Christmas card list, and had a huge summer picnic.

In our backyard we have a hot tub. It’s a really nice hot tub. It sort of fell into our tired, house-building little laps, and it can accommodate about a dozen relaxing bodies.

So on our invitations to our picnic, I reminded everyone that we have this fabulous hot tub — and that they should all bring their bathing suits.

But no one did.

I asked my husband’s cousin why she didn’t bring her swimsuit, and she said, “It’s too embarrassing at my age to be seen in my bathing suit.” And my other friends and relatives all nodded emphatically.

Let’s flashback even further.

Twenty years ago, my husband and I went on a vacation to Cancun. It was sort of a delayed honeymoon, as we didn’t have much money when we got married a few years earlier. Mexico was amazing: Beautiful beaches, fabulous food, wonderful weather.

It was truly a perfect vacation.

Until I got home and had my photographs developed. (Yeah, this was before digital. You couldn’t see whether you had a good time or not until you got home.)

Oh my God, I was so fat.

My thighs were hideous.

I hid the photos. (I hid them really well … I still can’t find them.)

But here’s what I learned in the subsequent years: That I would give anything now to look like I did back then. I wasn’t hideous. I was gorgeous.

Because it was who I was then.

And I’m gorgeous right now, because this is where I am now.

To my dear cousin who’s embarrassed to be seen in her bathing suit, I say:

“Right now is the best you will ever look. Because tomorrow, you’ll be older.”

I’ve been working very hard lately to get fit and look young. But however successful I am, I’ll never look 24. Or even 44. I’m 64. And this is the youngest I will be. Tomorrow I’ll be older.

So even if you are not fit and not trying to be: Here’s my serious advice.

Put on your swimsuit anyway.

Stroll on the beach. Lounge by the hotel pool. Get in that hot tub.

Enjoy the fact that you are the youngest and most beautiful you’ll ever be. Right this moment.

You’ll never be younger.

Enjoy your beauty.

Nancy blogs at notquiteold.com and her book, “What I Always Wanted,” can be purchased on Amazon.com

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