To say our culture is obsessed with youth would be an understatement. One look at the T.V. or most marketing ads and it’s pretty obvious. For the most part, it doesn’t bother me that I’ve passed that "ideal" youthful age of twenty-something, but every now and then I have to remind myself why entering middle age is a pretty good thing and it’s true that you’re only as old as you feel.
Health and Diet
Even though more and more of those little age related body aches have emerged in recent years, I find in many ways I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. Of course I’ve always known the importance of a good diet and regular exercise, but I feel that the older (and wiser!) I get, the more I make these things a priority. Maybe it’s because I now realize much more how what I put in my body affects how my body performs. In other words, eat junk and feel like junk. Plus, a well balanced diet rich in fruits and veggies helps me keep my energy levels up while keeping those extra pounds off! It’s hard not to wonder how much healthier I’d be today had I been this diligent with my diet all along. I suppose it’s a case of live and learn.
Attitude and Stress Levels
This is an area where I find I’ve made the most positive changes since my younger years. I found my teens and 20’s to be so dramatic–everything was a big deal. I’ve since learned not to "sweat the small stuff" as they say. I guess life experience shows you that everything is passive and what may seem huge today will eventually move on and you’ll be focused on something else.
I’m also much more comfortable with myself in general. I do things because I enjoy them, not because I think it’s the "cool" thing to do. I’m okay with voicing my own opinion on things and okay if that opinion doesn’t necessarily match everyone else’s. I think aging brings about a better sense of self, which is really empowering.
As I’ve grown older, I find I have fewer close friends than my younger days, but the quality of those relationships are much better. The individuals I choose to be part of my life genuinely add something beneficial to it. Gone are the drama queens and kings, the users and the complainers. Let’s face it–life is too short (yet another revelation you have as you grow older!).
So, if you find yourself envying that 23-year-old co-worker who is headed out to the latest hot spot with her equally young and vibrant friends–STOP! She may have glowing skin, no wrinkles and the ability to party all night and still function the next day, but you have the wisdom and experience to know that beauty and youth really is a state of mind.