Feeling old is a question of attitude. You’re only old when you give up enthusiasm and set limits for yourself based on a number. That could happen at any age.
Case in point: when I was 23 I thought I was too old to wear denim shorts and skirts. Thirty years later as I reflect on that, I’m ashamed and angry at the time and energy I wasted back then. When I look at pictures of myself in my twenties, I realize I looked pretty damn good. And of course, young!
I recently found some scribbled notes hidden between the pages of a book. My younger self wrote that she pined for a day when she’d finally learn to love who she was. Almost thirty years later, I’m finally accepting all of me, quirks and all. It’s taken me a lifetime to feel young!
Flashback to my life at 28: I firmly believed that I was too old to try new things like running, going back to school, dancing or moving away from my home town. Change scared me. I didn’t want to step out of my comfort zone. I realize I was so old back then despite my young age!
Diary writing is great but I stopped journaling about 4 years ago when I realized all I was doing was setting down on paper my miserable self-defeating thoughts. That only reinforced them.
Today, at over 50, I read those entries and I feel they were written by a different person. At 44 I reached my tipping point, I was petrified by the downturn of the economy, I felt extremely bored with life and very lonely. This lethal combination triggered a severe depression. But those dark moments also sparked an “aha” moment. One day when I attended a conference by author Wayne Dyer, I realized that it wasn’t too late to give myself a second chance at life.
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Since that tipping point, many things have helped me feel young again. As I reflect on all the changes I’ve undergone in the past four years up until my impending 52nd birthday, I’m amazed.
The changes were subtle at first: I was always a teacher by trade. But then a blogging opportunity came up and I took it. This led to my attending social media conferences, which brought me out of my shell! I also switched jobs after 17 years teaching at an adult language school. I started working with children at a middle school and to my surprise I love every bit of the challenge. And I dared to move to a new home after 15 years of being in the same place.
I’ve also taken up driving, made new friends and as I write this I’m smiling at the fact that I’m again wearing shorts, dresses and bikinis. My aging body is not perfect, but I’ve happily joined the club of those who think, “I really don’t give a damn,” which is pretty liberating.
In my 50s I feel confident like never before. Skinny jeans are my wardrobe staple and I even wear killer heels on date nights. When I’m scanning my closet, I pick my clothes based on fun, uplifting combos. It’s no longer about hiding my body, as I did twenty years ago.
Also Read: What Really Matters in Midlife – Thriving!
I’ve learned in midlife that it’s never too late, that our attitude, not our age, defines us, so we better get used to positive thinking! I know I’m not alone in being bolder and braver with each and every birthday.
I now celebrate my age and everything it implies. I hope my 60’s will be a time of even more learning, discovery and adventure.
I never hide my age because, why would I want to hide such a beautiful thing? I’m still alive! So many others are denied this privilege. I hope you too can learn to find pleasure in your forties, fifties and beyond.
You are only as old as you think you are!