Friday, September 28, 2012

Why I love being 40+.

I entered this decade, as most do, with a wee bit of trepidation. But now, nearly two years into "middle-age", I'm thinking it's the place to be. I'm not certain why it took so long to become comfortable in my own skin, but I am. 

Even if said skin is not quite so resilient. 

It is absolutely, positively freeing to join the legion of older women who look and feel comfortable in their own skin. It's as if by virtue of simply turning 40 I no longer felt the  pressure to look anything but . . . exactly how I look.

Perhaps it's all a right of passage -- much like motherhood -- and you don't receive the hall pass to "simply be yourself" until you've crossed the proverbial middle-aged line. Or maybe I'm just a slow learner.

Regardless, here's what happened when received my hall pass: 
  • I've refocused. I spent much of my twenties and thirties attempting to emulate the picture in my mind of who I should be. I've now refocused that picture on who I am. Now. I've stopped comparing myself to other women. I've stopped yearning for more. I've refocused on the here and now. And quite frankly, the here and now is better than I ever imagined.  
  • My glass is half full. Or at least, that's how I see it. I was extremely skinny in my twenties. I did not have to work hard to maintain the no curves look. Now, having lived more than half my life without curves, I embrace and appreciate the curves aging provided me. Of course, I'd like the glass to remain only half full. Any additional growth in this department would be unwelcome!  Which leads me to . . . 
  • I make an effort. I workout twice as hard as I did in my twenties. Clearly, I'm not still maintaining the same figure, but being fit is an excellent way to feel good about yourself and know - despite the imperfections - that you are doing what's best for your body. 
  • I had to get a grip. I cannot compare myself to the 25 year-old bikini-clad babes at the pool. Not even the 35 year-old bikini-clad mamas. I was there too and looked great at that time. Now I look great for this time.  There I said it.  I may not look great for any age; but I do look great - not perfect - for my age and my body
  • I've simplified. As I've aged, I do less to my hair and make-up. It's ironic that I would have never left my house without makeup in my twenties when my skin was flawless, but now my uneven skin is paraded around town weekly. Who cares! My skin-care regimen is also simplified and I've stopped trying the quick fixes and next best thing. Using a good sunscreen {daily}, antioxidants {vitamin C}, retinoids {Rx}, and drinking oodles and oodles of water are the most important steps you can take for good skin. Period. 
  • Re-evaluation is key. I do not long for all the latest styles or obsess over the shade of the season. I want clothes that fit, are well made, comfortable, and work for me. I am less concerned about what everyone else is wearing and more concerned about pieces that look great on me. As a result, I've thrown out more trendy clothes than I'd like to admit. I had to acknowledge that, while it was still cute, it no longer worked for me.

I'm not sure I can go so far as to say that I look better now than I did at 25 - that was nearly half a lifetime and many pounds ago - but I do have so much more perspective and less concern about what other people think of me, my clothes, or my looks. 

And quite frankly, when I see secure, confident women in the 40s, 50s, and 60s I think they look much more beautiful than many insecure-working-too-hard-at-it women in their 20s and 30s.

So look forward to your hall pass!

Embrace the inevitable changes.

And work like hell to be the best you you can be.

Because as they say: Everyone else is already taken.   

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