After two months of researching, talking to friends and family in person and online, and thinking about getting real about aging and beauty, I’ve come up with a bottom line.
You need to love yourself enough to be yourself and take care of your body (and mind.) If you’re living a life of purpose, you’ll be happy at any (every) age.
Aging doesn’t have to suck. And “fighting” aging is sucky vocabulary. It’s a marketing ploy. Instead, I say come at aging from a place of love and gratitude, not FEAR. And this is coming from a marketer, too. Instead of buying into the commercialization of “staying young” try instead FULLY EXPRESSING YOUR UNIQUE SELF.
I approach the way I look as IMAGE. It’s my personal brand. But I’m not following a trend, I’m using how I dress, how I wear my hair and do my makeup as CREATIVE EXPRESSION. That’s what will make us each happy. Not dressing how our parents think we should, or your work or your partner. So with that in mind – coming from a place of love that we are given ONE MIND AND ONE BODY in this life, it’s our responsibility to take care of it as long as it’s our vessel.
I spoke with a doctor recently about aging and this is what she said and this is how I’d like to kick off our “hierarchy” of aging well and expressing our authentic image and how we can do that. These are all top tips I found from my research as well as my own life experience.
1. Aging/wellness/beauty begins within. What you eat impacts how you feel, how your hair, nails and skin looks, how our organs function, etc. SO EAT CLEAN, GREEN AND LEAN. I don’t get women who are morbidly obese yet have perfect nails. Let’s take responsibility for what we put in our mouths. That’s our number one defense to “fight” aging. LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO MAKE HEALTHY CHOICES. The bad food we eat can give us cancer as much as smoking can. And if you even smoke “socially” cut that shit out. Don’t make me pull out my list of deceased loved ones who were killed from smoking.
2. If you are fit, you’ll feel younger (and look younger). Not only will you have WAY more energy, but you’ll be able to do all the things you want to do as you age including adventure and having the stamina to tackle your big dreams. Since I started working out every day I have about TWICE as much energy as before. The way you feel about yourself is huge. You’ll feel more confident and likely you’ll want to really take care of yourself in other areas like how you dress and want to show your best self. You’ll smile more which always makes us look more beautiful! WHY do we wait until we’ve become overweight or get a disease and a doctor “forces” us to work out? The other night at the Y I was thinking about this while doing hamstring curls and I look up and here comes an amputee on the track, walking slowly but he was doing it. He’s working out. That’s a perspective moment right there. We are able bodied and even if we aren’t we can make what works work harder and better for us if we do it. Start now. In college I worked out every day and even after kids I tried to stay in shape, but I’d gotten lazy about it. I was only working out once or twice a week and justifying not working out more as being “too busy” yet I spent way too much time on FaceTIMESUCKbook. PRIORITIZE YOUR SCHEDULE. You should love your body more than you love Facebook (or TV or whatever else you are replacing it with.)
3. Decorate your body to show your best self. Here’s the deal. We can’t see what someone eats, but our first impression comes from our image and humans (especially men) are very visual creatures. In your mind’s eye, put yourself in the middle of the room wearing a typical outfit. How do you look? Do you feel fabulous in it? Dress to feel amazing and GET RID OF ALL CLOTHES THAT ARE NOT BECOMING ON YOU. INVEST IN YOURSELF. Find out how to dress for your body type. This link will tell you what your body type it and how to dress for it. This is your chance to show off your PERSONAL STYLE so have fun with it. You can honor your body type and have fun with color, patterns, jewelry and so on. I’ve been purging my closet for about two months and it feels great to no longer see the things in the closet you know you’ll never wear again. It’s a relief and you’ll make room for things that make you feel awesome. How I dress is how I see myself: colorful, fun, sometimes sophisticated and glamorous. Brainstorm what those things are for you and then start shopping. How do you see yourself? Is there a celebrity or someone in real life that inspires a look for you?
4. Decorate your mind. Two things. If we think negatively about aging, we’re going to constantly feel bad about it. But if we think about it from a place of LOVE, then we can say “I love myself and I want my face to closer look like I feel inside” or “I want my body to be able to do all the things on my bucket list I haven’t accomplished yet” instead of bemoaning what we can’t do or how age is destroying our bodies. Because IT’S NOT. I got “decorate your mind” from a spiritual teacher, Osho, whose book I’m reading, “Mindfulness in the Modern World”. While his statement is about mindfulness, it totally applies to aging and beauty because this is your life. Fill your mind with things that bring you joy – great reading and conversation and hope and add in nature and art and surround yourself with beautiful things that inspire you. And if you hate your job or your life or your mental health needs some attention, then, no, you won’t enjoy aging or think you are beautiful from the inside out. Take care of you, please. We need to do what we want to do NOW because the future may not be there. Living a life of purpose and fulfillment is the key to happiness and then age really can feel like a number. I feel so much better than I did when I was in my 20s and 30s. I’m wiser and more confident and healthier and finally feel like I’ve found my personal style and am pursuing all the things I love. All. The. Things.
5. Select the tools for taking care of yourself. Look at the tools available, the time and energy (and money) you want to invest – prioritize what you want to transform the most and then DO IT NOW. I wouldn’t be in good shape without all my teachers – Zumba, body conditioning, hip hop, piloxing and even online with blogilates. They push me. They are my tool to reshaping my body and keep me motivated, too.
Why do celebs who are in their 40s and 50s still look like they are in their 30s? And most of them are WITHOUT PLASTIC SURGERY. They do these things to stay looking good probably years before we wake up and think about it. These tools are available to all of us (if we can afford it.) Again, found these from multiple articles online.
- SPF all over our bodies, year around and especially our neck/face/chest. 80% of aging is from sun damage. Yikes. If you already have sun damage, you can reverse it with treatments and good skin care.
- Good skincare that exfoliates, moistures, protects and restores. This likely means a good strength Retin A (from a doctor) that improves collagen and elastin, as well as using creams and serums with peptides and other vitamins that help exfoliate and can actually reverse wrinkles. Skin care gets expensive fast and don’t think you have to buy an entire line and every cream and serum out there.
- Great hair – no matter the color. Having a great stylist who knows how to cut your hair for your face as well as the texture of your hair is huge. It’s really hard to pull off styling it everyday if you are starting with a bad cut. I asked friends if they would go gray or not and three decided to already (in their 30s and 40s) and they opted to go gray because of the time and expense of keeping it colored. Obviously we look younger without gray but, newsflash, not everyone cares about looking younger. Our hair is a big part of our image and identity so if the style you have now isn’t reflecting how you want to feel, change it.
- The right makeup. My daughter believes no woman looks good without makeup. I wouldn’t go that far, but it does go far in bringing out our features and giving us the dewy complexion our “natural” face may have lost.
- Fillers and Botox. We lose fat and collagen as we age AND we have bone loss (even in our face). I know. That stinks because it means the skin starts to sag which causes wrinkles, pockets, etc. SO when you see a celeb over 40 with a fresh looking face, she likely uses some Botox for wrinkles as well as fillers to add volume to the face. You don’t have to go nuts, either. If this is an area that bothers you, go see a doctor about what it would cost and come up with a plan. It’s worth it if you’ll feel better. Either decide to live with it (acceptance) or do something about it. No use whining over LIVING ANOTHER DAY/WEEK/YEAR. Really.
- Photofacials and laser procedures. You basically are resurfacing your whole face. Look at realself.com and you’ll see the types of things you can do and the before and afters. Personally I hope to not have to go to this extreme for awhile, but it really does roll back the years. You look like a burn victim for up to two weeks on some of them but for those with a lot of sun damage, it’s really amazing how they can fix that.
- Surgery. I didn’t research surgery much but if you do want some type of tuck or lift, just get referrals and maybe see more than one to see who you trust for what. Guys want women to look good, yes, but REAL. A great face lift that’s done well should be almost unnoticeable as well as the use of fillers and Botox. If not, yikes.
We can’t make a decision without knowing what the options are and how we feel about it, right?
I also think it’s important to find things you LOVE about your body and write those down. Too often we look in the mirror and only see the things we want to change so right now come up with FIVE THINGS you love about your body. Mine are: blue eyes, my long, curly brunette hair, my smile, my thin wrists and ankles and honestly I don’t know about the fifth but I’ll think on it. Maybe my body type (hour glass-y) and height (5’6″) though I used to HATE my shape because I was constantly comparing it to everyone else (and size 0 sorority sisters) and always wanted to cover myself up instead of dressing for my type. In college I dated a guy who looking back on it actually wanted me to have a completely different body type and I felt terrible about myself. He wanted me to have smaller boobs, tan skin and likely shorter. I realized (too late) he really wanted me to look like his ex-girlfriend who had more of a Paula Abdul look. (if you put Paula and I on a spectrum I’m pretty sure we would be at opposite ends!) Ugh. When I dated guys who loved my body type, I felt much better about myself. I mean, duh, right? One guy said, “you look like a woman should look” which was much nicer than someone giving me a mental boob reduction and spray tan. Geesh.
When I decided to get real about my life, I knew I’d make a transformation inside and out and it isn’t easy but it’s the most important thing we can do to fully live our purpose. Be your best YOU. Don’t listen to the naysayers who will try to get you to still eat junk food with them or tell you that you work out too much or don’t like the way you do your hair or dress. Forget them! You aren’t expressing yourself for THEM. If they don’t support you, kick them to the bottom of your priority list. Seriously.
We also have to be realistic about what we can achieve. We can transform our minds and bodies within limits but we can’t suddenly get Beyonce’s booty or a 20 year old’s youthful glow. (And besides that, we romanticize celebrities and the youth because if you hang out with college students, you’ll see they have other skin problems like acne that you may not have anymore.)
I’ll close with the same bottom line:
You need to love yourself enough to be yourself and take care of your body (and mind.)
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you’re new to my Get Real series, you can see the other topics I’ve wrote about in 2014 my scrolling back through my blog. Next week I’m talking about why we need to stop apologizing. I’m sick and tired of being sorry, aren’t you? What the hell?