Though I am writing especially for woman, much of what I have to say also applies to men. It may take a little extra effort to look, act, and feel great over fifty, but the good news is that it’s possible!
In this age of age-ism it is sometimes difficult to garner respect in the work place, or even in our private lives, when the over 50 cat gets out of the proverbial bag. I will not be addressing why this is occurring (such a long story) but I will take a good look at what you can do about it. It can be a bitter pill, particularly for those of us who have spent our entire adult lives becoming fine at what we do. However, age also has many benefits and that’s the real focus. The only perspective that truly matters is yours.
If you are feeling way too grown up for your own good, here are a few important ABCs that will take you happily forward into that second childhood that everyone keeps promising i.e.; if you are lucky enough to grow actually old. Until then, shine like the youngster you are by comparison, and be grateful for a wonderful life well lived. Here’s to looking, acting, and feeling great.
Act your age!
Is there anything more unflattering than someone over fifty trying to be 20 again? It’s great to be fifty – or it should be. Dress in clothes that are more sophisticated than you could ever have worn in your twenties or thirties. You have arrived. You have earned that level of worth. And you should look different from the kids. This also applies to your use of language, diction, and philosophies. At this age you can afford to invent your own style and have educated opinions. Respect is earned through being proud of what and who you are – not by trying to be something you are not (anymore). Embrace this new phase of your life and polish it like a rare jewel. If you exhibit personal value others will follow your example and treat you accordingly.
Be truly beautiful!
Here are a few tips to effectively manage your aging process. To feel fulfilled in our daily lives we need to establish a few healthy goals that are worth achieving. It is not enough to just look good, but it certainly helps us to feel confident and secure. So, let’s start with the outside and work our way inward.
Rule One: Do not color your own hair.
No matter how many stylists you need to go through, find one that works for you and pay whatever it costs. This is not the place to save a dime. Make sure that the color is as natural as possible for your skin coloring; too dark, red, light, or washed out (beige) against your face will age you. Some really nice non-toxic hair dyes are now available in many salons for those that are sensitive to hair colorants. Go for highlights, low lights, and a deeper root color than your over-all hair color. Do not let your stylist blow dry the life out of your hair or over process it. Hair that is blown dry and processed everyday looks like straw (read old). Instead, let your hair air dry several times a week and smooth on a little shine enhancer. Try new hair styles that work well when your hair is wet: like slicking the hair back; a French twist or any other up-do; or pin the hair into swirls with nifty decorative hair ornaments like a 40’s movie star. These styles will set your hair naturally as it dries and at the same time keep your tresses sleek and glossy (read youthful).
Rule two: Take care of your skin
After a certain age, especially on the face, neck, and décolletage, the skin needs to be exfoliated and the underlying collagen stimulated on a regular basis. Again, it is more than worth the money to have a monthly skin treatment: think of it as an investment. You can wear flowing drapery over your body to hide a multitude of sins, but a bag over the head is reserved for unknown comics. Though you will not ever look twenty again (the cells of your body completely reform every seven to ten years) you will have a glowing, youthful, and healthy complexion. Go for the works! The key words here are exfoliation (diamond tip Dermabrasion is the least invasive and very effective); stimulation (lactic acid peels are natural, gentle and stimulating); and absorption (ultrasound treatments convey the vitamins and regenerative serums deep into the cells). Also, you need to invest in good products for home care between treatments. Yes, you used to be able to wash your face with a handful of borax and still look great, but today we need “skin care”. Dermalogica and Nerium are the best line of facial products that I have ever used. Find an aesthetician that uses and sells these products – you will see the results quickly.
Rule three: Make exercise a delight not a chore
What would delightful exercise be for you at this point in your life? Would it be a game of tennis? – A long walk in the moon light? – A fun dance class? Whatever it is find it now.
In fifty years on the planet here is what we have all learned: you can’t argue yourself into healthy activity , therefore, the best approach is learning how to play again. Walk to the grocery store for the pleasure of feeling the wind in your hair; put on some music and dance around your living room; take a romantic walk with your lover; play on the beach making sand sculptures or collecting pretty shells and glass. Working out at the gym is fine if you love it, but if you make your life a kinetic playground you may just cancel that gym membership and spend the money on your hair. Along with so many other things, we need to redefine physical fitness to suit our age bracket. Though not yet old, it is not wise to stress our bodies like we did in years past. This is the age when serious injuries often occur (especially to the knees) because we won’t allow that we need a less stressful and invasive approach to our exercise regime. Be warned – have fun.
Rule four: Sleep, Breathe, Meditate; eat clean, whole foods; read, and occasionally do absolutely nothing.
Introverted activities are just as important as the extroverted ones. There is a difference between doing and being. Our culture has become neurotically extroverted and action oriented, which makes a lot of us feel obligated to burn like a roman candle in order to keep up with the popular ideal. Extreme sports – or extreme anything – is just plain foolish. Frankly, I see a lot of activity but not a lot of productivity; people being entertained, but not gaining anything of lasting worth. This makes for poor health both physically and psychologically.
Give yourself the gift of introspection: whether that is allowing yourself time in the morning to remember your dreams, or meditating on spiritual concepts that are important to you. Make time to do nothing physical – which means take no action! We cannot regenerate if we never get quiet. If it is too hard for you to really do nothing, then sit and read a book (and I mean a book, not a movie, not Kindle, not anything computer generated) or take a slow walk in nature. Trees are the most healing beings on this planet –let them work their magic on you.
Food should also be a slow, gentle process whenever you can create and eat it that way. Don’t eat any animals that you wouldn’t want to live next door to and buy organic vegetables for the improved mineral content as well as the lack of pesticides. Minerals are greatly depleted in today’s food sources and this is causing a lot of diseases that could be easily avoided. Pay it to the grocery store or pay it to the hospital – it’s your choice. This is the time of life that ingested toxins begin to build up to critical levels. So, consider a fast or an internal cleanse and check into acupuncture for your over-all health plan. The Chinese stop paying their doctors if they get sick – an ounce of prevention really is the cure!
Carpe Diem: Seize the day
Though you may suddenly feel old, if you are lucky, you will be getting a lot older. That means many years ahead of you to contemplate your misery or your joy. Wisdom (that phase we are hopefully entering into right about now) dictates that if there is something you have always wanted to do or be, now is the time to re-invent yourself! Have you always dreamed of starting your own company? Do you imagine yourself writing a book or putting together a dance troupe? One question prevails: why not? For the first time in your life, you are worldly wise enough, young and old enough, educated enough, and strong enough to do just about anything that you want to do. Yes, joining the New York City Ballet may not still be an option, or doing those odd extreme sports, or becoming a brain surgeon if you are currently an accountant. But, you can do what you know you have it in you to do, even though you may have been afraid to try it up until now. You also have a world of information at your finger tips that no other 50 somethings to date have had. We are a lucky, lucky bunch – and it would be a shame if we let it all slip by.
Be real, be beautiful, be productive, and be happy – what else is there to be? You are at the fulcrum of your life and opportunity is yours if you choose to go toward it. You can either get about the business of going down hill or really start living to the fullest. This is not about success or failure in the common sense; it is about attaining your highest potential and continuing to grow. It is also about nourishing and loving that fifty-something self enough to treat it well. The prime of life is here, the moment is now, don’t resist – revel in it!
Ciao Bella Martha Channer 2017