Revised and Updated
“Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.”― Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor seemed to have it together. My goal is to think the way Eleanor thought. Well, we know that’s not happening. I took these selfies recently and let me tell you, I’m not a selfie taker (I read that all selfie takers say that). I’m not sure why I took them or where I took them, but they do pretty much sum up how I feel about getting older.
Getting older is not for the faint of heart (was it Betty Davis who said this?). Sometimes I look in the mirror and I think: it’s not fair that my father was handsome his entire life or see that wattle under your chin? — you deserve it for teasing mom about her’s. I want to love every line on my face and embrace my sagging eyelids and I want to believe that there is a reason there is more hair in my ears than on the top of my head; although I might have to let that one go.
I was coerced and cajoled into going to a Carnival party last night. You know the feeling: I’m too old, I’ll be invisible. I don’t want to dance, the food will suck, and so on. I pushed myself so that I could prove to myself and my new Portuguese friends, that I could party with the best of them. I decided to wear whiteout make-up in hopes that it would cover my lines, I sported a new t-shirt, newly refurbished black boots and some borrowed red lipstick. I made an effort and it worked. I had a great time and although I wished the party had started a bit earlier, I stuck it out for a few hours and I went to sleep smiling; facial lines intact.
I know all of this is normal growing older stuff and I know that at some point I will probably embrace it, but that doesn’t mean I should stop trying to be better at it now. In the meantime, I need to continue to push myself outside of my comfort zone.
Some Things One Can Do to Embrace the Aging Process:
- Take care of your skin — Twenty years ago, I paid quite a lot of money for a facial in New York City just to learn how to take better care of my skin. The biggest lesson I learned was about toner. It’s really important to close your pores after you’ve washed your face or shaved. If you do not close your pores or use toner to close your pores, anything you put on your skin will go right into your pores and clog them up. That’s when you end up with blackheads and pimples; yes I still get pimples — moisturizer is also important for preventing wrinkles; dry skin is more likely to wrinkle. Some men are way too macho to care about this stuff, but for those who do, it is possible to have good skin your entire life.
- Take care of your body — We all know that unless you eat right and exercise, your body will give you all sorts of problems. Thirty minutes of exercise a few days a week will go a long way for good health. Eating fresh food and taking vitamin supplements are also essential. I do it all in moderation (or I won’t do it). Genetics plays into aging; however, how well you take care of your body, is a huge factor in how well you age.
- Stay sharp — Mind, body and spirit are usually the three aspects of your life that experts point to when discussing good health. Keeping your mind sharp means that you have to exercise your brain. Sitting in front of your television can be relaxing and benefit your mental wellbeing, but doing things that stimulate your mind are key to staying mentally sharp. Reading, puzzles, attending lectures, and participating in stimulating conversation, are examples of things you can do to stay sharp. Don’t let your brain atrophy.
- Dress Up — This is a difficult one for me. Give me a nice cotton t-shirt and some soft cotton sweatpants and I’m good to go. That’s okay for grocery shopping or taking a brisk walk, but when you’re going out for dinner or to a concert, make the extra effort and dress up a bit. People around you will show you how much they appreciate the effort. When we get lazy and let ourselves go, it affects the way we feel about ourselves and has a negative impact on the way we interact with others. It can be so subtle we don’t see it, but trust me, it’s there. Experiment with this and wear a sports jacket and tie to dinner; you’ll see a big difference in the way people treat you — you too ladies (without the tie though).
- Pamper yourself — vacation, massage, long walk on the beach and so many other things you can do to say “I love you” to yourself.
- Be graceful and gracious — Always put your best self forward. Good manners and a positive attitude go a long way in navigating the world around you. We all need one another at one point or another. Show the people around you that you appreciate them; when you need something, people will remember how you treated them or whether or not you thanked them. We all need to be appreciated. I have had to remind several people in my life that I should not and will not be taken for granted. It’s all part of being a good friend or family member — we can all learn from one another. People always say that the world was once a kinder, gentler place. It’s difficult to know how true that statement is; however, it doesn’t hurt to strive to improve; we all benefit from a kinder world.
- Volunteer — An opportunity to give back, do something fulfilling and meet new people.
- Remember the alternative is not-so-good
There was a time I would look at someone with obvious plastic surgery and get all judgy about it. I’ve evolved and no longer care. Do whatever you want to do to yourself if it will help you feel better.
What to Say to People When They Ask You How Old You Are
- I used to add ten years onto my age to see what kind of reaction I’d get. One time I did that and the person said, “That’s what I would have guessed.” Needless to say, I stopped doing that.
- You can stand tall and proudly declare your exact age.
- You can lie if it makes you feel better.
- You can say, “I’m in my 50s but I feel like I’m 30. Don’t I look 30 (update)?” And then laugh at yourself; always laugh at yourself.
- You can tell people what was happening in the world when you were born. There was a major solar eclipse on the day I was born. I like sharing that for some reason. I believe the strength of the sun on the day I was born had a lot to do with my birth. You don’t have to agree with me, that’s okay.
- I wouldn’t say, “How old do you think I am?” unless you are prepared for their answer.
- You can say, “Old enough.”
- You can say, “I have a few years on you or I think you may be older than me (be prepared to die (update).
- Fill in the blank __________________________.
How Others Age
Try not to compare yourself to others. Like I said earlier, genetics plays a major role in aging. Some people seem to have better skin. Some people have arthritis and some don’t. Some people can build muscle more easily. You get my point; be easier on yourself.
One of the things I love about growing older is that you seem to care less about what others think — it’s freeing, to say the least. I’m looking forward to caring even a little less. I’m talking about the divisive stuff, not the loving and caring stuff.
A couple of good articles:
I am happy to say that I am home in Portugal until July 4 when I will leave for Scotland. We have beautiful weather here in June and the tourists will not arrive in huge numbers for a few weeks (at least not in Faro). So coming up I have Scotland, Asia for three weeks and then South Africa in 2024. That is pretty much it; I hope to keep it this way for awhile. Traveling by air has become exhausting and anxiety producing. I can handle only so much of that insanity.
My Current State of Mind
I am happy to be home with Paco and sleeping in my own bed. I have no regrets about getting caught-up in the French air traffic control strike or my 24 hour flight delay, and I missed Portugal. The ol’ allergies are not as bad either.
Please do me a great favor: if I ever offend you, hurt you, annoy you, etc. find a kind way to tell me. I honestly want to be a better human and you can help.