My answer: It depends on your perspective.
I mean – really — when was the last time you looked at photographs taken eons ago, capturing your youthful glow and wonder …. “WOW, did I really look that good??” What the hell was I thinking then? Never…ever satisfied.
Let’s face it, literally, when you were younger and you felt and looked great (even though you were still so damm critical): How can you process the thought that older can better?
Not an easy concept.
But, experience is the mother lode of “I told you so.” And that is what I have: 68 years of it.
Let’s start with each decade. Because after a certain age every year is relative. Whereas each decade is relevant.
During your 20’s, you were still somewhat insecure, not yet knowing your full potential nor giving much thought to the future or understanding the expression that “youth is beautiful as well as fleeting,” or that dour adage “youth is wasted on the young.” Think about it: Did we really appreciate all that we had rather than scrutinize every flaw? Did we continuously wonder what direction were we heading towards, obsessing over what lie ahead and how to get there?
In our 30’s, some of us were married with or without kids, some had careers, some had both and some had neither. Too damn busy with hectic schedules, trying to keep up with the demands of others and the demands we made for ourselves. A decade of juggling. Pure exhaustion.
Then, out of nowhere, we’re 40. OMG. Are you kidding?!
Well, no, I’m not. Forty — rumored to be a turning point into adulthood. Ok, not a rumor – It IS the turning point — but not a negative one. Again, perspective, ladies. In reality, it’s a benchmark, beginning a 20- year cycle of getting to know more about who you are. Evolving. Transitional. Blossoming.
You blossom, you bloom, and even more importantly, you have at least two more decades of being better and more empowered. You actually feel stronger and have more endurance (if you stay healthy: this is key!). And, you continue to look good and become more becoming because you can.
A different experience. A time to take chances. An opportunity to be more adventurous. Try doing new things, every-and – anything.
Oh yes, it does get easier after 40 because you learn to let go of baggage and start to pack your emotional suitcase with more substance. Continue to learn, because you can. And be kind to your skin. Treat it with care and stay out of the sun.
And, then…BOOM, YIKES…50! The epicenter of “I’ve arrived.” Full steam ahead!
Don’t think it’s effortless to get to the point of a stronger, better you. It’s not. It requires discipline, rather than indulgence.
MUST must exercise. Even if it’s just walking more each day, taking stairs when possible, and putting aside the junk we love to devour. Body and mind should be fed with selective, nourishing goodies. You can still have your cake and eat too, but do it with self-awareness and a conscience or pay the consequences.
The knowledge to know thyself is an inexpensive elixir. Stop purchasing over-hyped over-the-counter beauty lies. If you must, a little tweaking can’t hurt but do it if you must in moderation.
You can’t change the numbers but you can change your attitude and your outlook. Numbers only matter when you feel and look lousy (which we all have on any given day). Fortunately, you can still — in this decade — outnumber the bad days with better ones.
Yes, it really is a fantastic time. Its life in full bloom. Oh boy! In an eye blink, the uninvited yet inescapable dawn of 60 has arrived. I say “dawn” because you’ve haven’t totally peaked just yet (more or less). Or as we 60-somethings gently like to say: You’ve turned the corner.
We are still fabulous, energetic, beautiful. But within the mid-60’s a few aches and pains are more noticeable. We’re more acutely aware of our body joints and can no longer them for granted. Again I emphasize, it’s only a number … even though the face in the mirror might not reveal it… the body knows all. You can’t fool your internal clock. But you can continue to keep it healthy. The mind can still be very expansive, and so can the waist, thighs and hips. Yet, you can control all of it – again, within moderation. It’s the magic word. So cache, so middle aged.
Yet, it is the one word — our mantra — we apply to how we eat and function. The few exceptions is letting go of yesteryears crap. Just let go. Who needs that burdensome emotional weight especially when any extra pounds anywhere are unwanted?
Laugh. And enjoy. Embrace those who have added positive value and enhanced your life.
As we strive to keep our bodies and minds active, fluid and flexible, we should continue to look forward. Embrace yourself. Permitting a more matured, forgiving tenderness within will allow us to expand throughout. By continuing to strive and reach outwards to future horizons, we will enable ourselves to continue to grow …. because, hopefully, we still can.
And so I say: Happy Birthday to each and every one of you on your special day within your very own special decades.