I was recently watching an NBA playoff game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks and overheard something that caught my ear. “You’re the youngest you’ll ever be today” the announcer said about some coach who said that to some player at some time. I didn’t get all that part but I heard the quote itself loud and clear. I heard it and I loved it. I think I may have even tweeted it or Facebook statused it. I liked it that much. I am indeed, not getting any younger.
But, I also don’t want to feel old. Maybe it’s because I just returned from my alma mater for my last ever “Mom’s Weekend” with my daughter. Something about going “home” to OU makes me feel young again. Hanging out with college kids at college hang-outs can do that. So does getting together with fellow moms I went to college with and stay in touch with to this day. Seeing our daughters go to the same exact places we did many moons ago has a way of making us feel young and invincible all over again. And it’s not just me. Other moms were right there with us. Moms of my daughter’s friends and random moms I ran across, all letting their hair down and having fun. I guess you could say we partied like it was 1981.
Each Mom’s Weekend has somehow or another leant itself to a song that ends up being the “theme song” of that weekend and one of them is Fun’s “We Are Young.” Ironic or prophetic?
Who wants to get old? Not me!
But, once back in my suburban routine I catch myself acting like a woman whose best times are behind her. I write, I read, I organize, I decorate, I watch too much TV, and I piddle around the house. This is all well and good though. None of us, me included, want to be “that” mom who doesn’t act her age and thinks she’s much younger than she is. But, at the same time there’s no reason to act like a 70-year-old either. It’s a fine balance and it’s one I vow to achieve.
There’s one problem: I’m a home body. I love being home but I also love being with friends and family. Maybe I just don’t like making the plans. I’m bad at that and I’m sure my close friends would agree. Go to a movie? Call me. Take a road trip? I’ll drive. Dance in the clubs? Let me get my dancing shoes!
That’s one of my favorite quotes (and reminders!) from one of my favorite authors, Gretchen Rubin. It’s scarily true. Don’t some days just drag on but years seem to fly by? Consider it Exhibit A, B, and C for why we need to live those years with the hearts and minds of a child opening Christmas day presents or a dog coming across an open gate.
Don’t get me wrong. By “staying young” I don’t mean Botoxing and filling your face ‘til you look like a Housewife of you name the place, being a “cougar” (I even hate that term…so not clever or original), or wearing clothing that’s too tight or not age appropriate. It’s also not about living in the past or not growing up. It’s aging with dignity. It’s living life to the fullest but with taste and style.
They say laughter is the best medicine and I tend to agree. People seem to take themselves waaay too seriously and in doing so, miss out on so many of life’s little gems. We go and go and get and get and then we find ourselves old and often alone. That’s not my idea of “the golden years” and I venture to guess it’s not yours either.
“The only person who is with us our entire life is ourselves.”
In researching this topic, I came across an article that began, “As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend.” I thought, “That’s me. To a tee!” Also significant to me was the advice to “Enjoy the simple things. When children are young, the simple things are all they can afford and they love them. Same with college students and retirees. Start appreciating them again, now.” Gotcha.
Yep, my life isn’t perfect but it’s my life and I want to have fun. I’ve made peace with my past and I’ve learned I don’t have to win every argument. I’m also trying not to compare my life to that of others and am realizing I really don’t like secrets.
I feel blessed to have to color my gray hairs, apply eye cream on my crow’s feet, and put essential oils on my knees and back. I’m also trying to be more positive about things. I would love to fit in a size 10 and wish I loved to exercise, but I’m also grateful for all the yummy food I’ve been blessed to eat and short walks with my dog. I will keep pushing myself to return to yoga and workouts but I will also continue to put too much creamy dressing on my salads. I’ve always said, I’m not overweight because I’ve eaten too much salad dressing!
You may have never heard of Regina Brett, but she wrote something remarkable. At the ripe old age of 90. The Cleveland Plain Dealer printed her “45 Lessons Life Taught Me” and it’s since become the most requested column. Here are just some of the 45 lessons that I spoke to me:
- Stay in touch with your family. Your job won’t take care of you when you’re sick, but they will.
- Save for retirement beginning with your very first paycheck.
- If a relationship has a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
- Everything can change in the blink of an eye.
- Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or joyful.
- Over prepare then go with the flow.
- Believe in miracles.
- Your children only get one childhood. Do everything in your power to make it a good one.
- If we threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d probably grab ours back.
- Envy is a waste of time.
I also liked her advice to “burn those candles, use nice sheets, and wear good shoes. Don’t save anything for a special occasion. Every day is special.” Her words of wisdom made me think of my friend Karen who recently moved into a new home. She and her husband are empty nesters and I loved when she told me she gave all her every day dishes to her son and is going to only use her good china. You go girl!
Great advice, right? So are these “Several Small Ways to Stay Young:”
- Throw out non-essential numbers, including age and weight.
- Keep only cheerful friends in your life. Grouches pull you down.
- Keep learning. Take a class. Learn to paint. Never, ever let the brain get idle.
- LOL. Literally. Laugh often, long, and loud.
- Don’t worry about situations beyond your control. Let it go.
- Let the tears happen and let others see you cry. Grieve but then move on.
- Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, or hobbies. Make your home your comforting refuge.
- Cherish your health. If it is good, preserve it. If it’s not, improve it.
- Don’t take guilt trips. Go to the mall, to a foreign country, to a beach, but not ever, ever on a guilt trip.
- Tell the people you love that you love them every chance you get.
I recently bought a shirt with a glass of wine on the front and the caption “half full.” When I saw it, it screamed “buy me Carla.” It’s as though it was telling me to take life by the horns and see it for what it is: a gift. A daily gift. That’s my goal. Live life with my cup of life half full. I want to relish in the joy of being imperfectly young at heart and if that means dancing to Miley Cyrus songs in a college bar one weekend a year, I’m in.