I’ve actually never liked the term “anti-aging”. I can’t say why exactly, except that it gives me visions of surgical procedures and commercials with fake looking women and skin care products I can’t afford. Maybe I’ve always felt I would be one of those women who “ages gracefully” and doesn’t need anything that fights the aging process.
So then I had a birthday last month. For some reason this one triggered my first bout of “getting older anxiety”. Some of it is physical – my naturally blond hair has officially darkened to brown, and there are many more wrinkles when I look in the mirror – but a good portion is mental. I have taken workshops lately where the instructors and all the attendees are younger than me – by 10 years. I am the oldest woman in some of my “mom” groups, and I still plan on having more kids. I haven’t accomplished quite what I thought I might in my career by this point, and the time to reach those goals feels like it’s shortening. I look at my beautiful daughter playing at my feet, and I wish so much I could just stop time for a little while to soak in all of her toddler amazingness. While I work very hard to live and breathe and love in the present moment, I’ve found myself with some new fears involving getting older, and I’m not too happy about them.
It took a few weeks around my birthday for me to recognize what I was feeling, and then another week or two to just sit with it and stare it in the face. Around the beginning of January, my inner voice was finally loud enough to yell above the fear and say, “Stop! Just stop! You are only as old as you THINK you are, so stop right now.” It’s true – spending any amount of time being fearful of getting older only makes us waste the time we have NOW. The older we are in our own minds, the older we physically are. I also started embracing my age. I don’t want to be ashamed of getting older – I want to celebrate it! This is a new season in my life, and I still have things to give and knowledge to share and adventures to live. I’m proud of where I am, and I don’t ever want to be ungrateful for this amazing life. Getting older is just a part of it, and I want to be that person riding the roller coaster all the way to the end!
Embracing my age doesn’t mean I necessarily want to just accept the consequences of getting older. As a part of my “love your age” campaign, I chose a few healthy and affordable anti-aging techniques that I could focus on in 2015. These are things that will help me be healthier, feel better, look good and live with purpose in the coming year.
Anti-Aging Techniques – My 5 Goals for 2015
Drink more water. I’ve always been a big proponent of drinking water, and I have been pretty consistent with my intake in the past. This fell off a little last year, so I need to get back on track. We have more water bottles in this house than I can count (glass or food-grade stainless steel – no plastic), so I keep one with me all day. I never get in the car or go anywhere without a full bottle, and I keep an empty glass on my desk all day to fill whenever I need to. My goal is to drink 8oz before my morning coffee, then drink my full 32oz bottle before lunch. Then another 32oz between lunch and mid-afternoon, and finish the day with another 8-20oz. It keeps me energized, prevents headaches, helps me sleep better, improves my skin and keeps me more full throughout the day so I don’t snack as much.
Shea butter. I have never been a high-maintenance skin care girl, but I do fully believe in the importance of skin health. I have used Sense skin care products for years (their serum is the best!), but I wanted to add something to boost the vitamins and minerals getting to my skin. Someone mentioned shea butter to me. At $10 for this container, I figured “why not?”. Oh. My. Gosh. I am in love with this stuff! I have been using it as a moisturizer at night, and I have never felt anything so moisturizing while not feeling greasy. Shea butter naturally is full of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and fatty acids that are imperative to moisturizing, preventing wrinkles and healing dry and chapped skin. I have also been putting it on an allergic rash I have on my ears, and I swear it’s healing after only three days. I am just in awe, and am excited to see if there is a long-term difference after regular use this year.
Probiotic. Like, water, I’ve been announcing the benefits of probiotics for years, but I have lost my own consistency with it. There are numerous benefits of probiotics, including balancing gut and intestinal health, increased energy, decreased bloating, a stronger immune system, better teeth and improved vaginal health. There are even health benefits for babies who’s mothers take probiotics while they are pregnant or breastfeeding! I prefer this brand as it’s an easy single serving powder that I can just put in water and drink, and I only need to take it every other day. I feel like it’s an easy addition to my vitamin routine and one that can pay off immensely in health benefits.
Increase my strength training. I love resistance training (free weights, Pilates, body weight training, etc…) and I’ve added some weights this past year to some of my normal exercises. I don’t get to the gym as much as I used to, so I do most of this at home, and I feel personally ready to challenge myself with a little more resistance training this year. Resistance and strength training has been proven to help prevent osteoporosis, and it also keeps our metabolisms high. Gaining muscle can become harder as we age, so I want to get a head start now! I’ve started playing with adding a BodyPump class once a week, and it’s been very fun (and challenging!). You might be in a completely different area of your workout journey, but I do recommend looking into some resistance or strength training if you haven’t already. This is a great video to help get you started if you are new to weights or looking for something different!
Let go of jealousy and focus on doing what I can to lift others up. I was looking through social media the other day, and came across a photo of someone I worked with years and years ago. I was really surprised to see this person, and as I stopped to study the picture, I realized I had a funny feeling in my gut. I looked through a few more and saw some pictures of a beautiful woman who is living a very full and productive and happy and giving life. I kept feeling it, though – this combination of anxiety and discomfort and a vague yuckiness. You know what I felt? Jealousy. Right there, plain as can be. Why in the world was I being negative and jealous towards a person who had clearly worked very hard and was enjoying the benefits of this? Because it appeared from the photos she had reached a level of achievement I hadn’t. Instead of giving me joy for someone else, the pictures reminded me that I had NOT done those things and had NOT reached that level on that career path. I had just put my own insecurities in a box and decided they could be thrown at her, and they manifested as jealousy. I do NOT want to be that jealous person and I do NOT want to pass this legacy on to my daughter. What a waste of time to be jealous and negative towards anyone in this world! I can’t imagine anything that could steal the happiness of my aging journey more than living a life of pettiness and regret. Jealousy and comparison do nothing to help me – or anyone – reach our goals. They actually act to pull us down and make sure we never live the fullest and most amazing lives we are meant to live. I decided right then and there I would BELIEVE that there is abundance in this world, and that there is enough for all of us. I would BELIEVE that I can only be lifted up when I lift up and support and love others. Not just by words and deeds, but by real feelings. I will be truly happy for anyone who accomplishes what they want in this world, and I will believe that love and kindness always win. I will always be the first to celebrate and congratulate others on their victories, and I will mean it when I do it. I went back to that original picture and I chose LOVE. Love for her, love for her life, love for my life, and love for all of us. That is all that really matters.
I will age, and nothing will stop that. But I will chose love and joy and life and gratitude, and I will continue to learn and grow.