Don’t look younger. FEEL better.
A little while ago I wrote a blog post about a popular “over 40” anti-aging workout from Sadie Nardini. Turns out this topic is HOT, as that post skyrocketed. If you want to know my philosophy on aging, especially women aging in our society, I highly recommend reading that post. Today, I want to dive deeper into this desire to seek a fountain of youth and beauty, and see what we might actually want to embrace when it comes to “aging gracefully”.
What does it mean to “age well”?
To start, let’s frame the issue better: Aging is life’s greatest privilege. It means you’ve made it. If you’re noticing signs of getting older, consider them embodied medals for winning at life’s greatest challenge: survival.
Now, to dive into the real meat of this subject. Talk with people older than you and they’ll tell you that FEELING healthy, youthful, vital, or energized becomes far more important and valuable than smooth, tight skin. Same goes for a calm, strong, clear mind, a healthy emotional ecosystem, and great social bonds.
This has been the hardest, most rewarding struggle of my 40s. I had a default mindset that made looking young way more important than it needed to be. It’s taken years of sometimes painful reorienting to change my mind. It’s tough to open our eyes amidst a culture that profits from us staying oblivious and docile. But I did the work, and started to realize the GOLD buried under these misleading beliefs. Letting go of needing to look younger has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
How do I let go of my desire to look younger?
Listen, therapy’s gonna go a long way here, but my best advice is to WANT to let go of it more than anything else. Your curiosity, investment, and energy will take you most of the way. Also, here’s something very few people say: Getting older can be RICH with different benefits we can’t imagine when we’re young and oblivious. Truly, if you have decent health, there are few things a rewarding as aging. But you have to actively create this reality.
Here’s the secret: You’re in the long game now, so you have to switch to investing in long-game tactics.
When you’re in your 20s or even your 30s, you spend a lot of time chasing instant gratification or learning shit. It’s a lot of uphill climbing and exploration. Once you start leaning into your 40s, you’ve got a lot of data. There are things you’ve tested over and over. You can stop running those experiments, gather your data, and reach conclusions. Some things just aren’t interesting to you. Some things you can just let go of. Other things just work for you even if you’re “supposed” to do it differently. And now, without the terrors of youth, you can just let that shit go, and do you. Let me tell you, if you want more energy, let go of shit you’re tired of hauling around.
When you release crap you no longer need, you’ll be left with the curated list of things that are still worth your time four decades or so after your start date. This is where the fun begins. Now you can switch to a long game. Stop rushing, stressing out. Breathe. You now have the rest of your life to refine the things you most want to spend your time on. Indulge. Drive more slowly along the road of your life and smile calmly at the 20something asshat blowing past you in his rush to wherever he believes he must be. You’re not in that race anymore. You’re deep-diving now.
How do I age like a badass bitch?
That’s 100% up to you, and that’s why it’s so badass and beautiful. Here are my best tips:
Slow the fuck down. Take longer, lighter breaths, just like James Nestor suggests.
Let people go. Toxic gossips, negative downers, people generally unhappy with their lives, even if they’re family. You don’t have to actively cut them out, just stop putting energy into them and let them drift off. Devote more of your time to finding and valuing people who value you and light you up. The work you’ll have to do internally to actually be able to do this is in fact the biggest benefit to you of doing it. It’ll transform your self-esteem.
Listen to music you like. Definitely soak yourself in old favourites, especially from your teen years. Also get on Spotify or 8tracks or SoundCloud or whatever you use and search for playlists based on the kind of mood you want to be in. Weather the process of finding a handful of good lists, and have them on more often.
Choose one or two social media platforms that make you feel better after being on them, and ditch the rest. Honestly, there are no rules here. Discord? Awesome. TikTok? Clubhouse? Wicked. Friendster? Is that still a thing, I dunno anymore. Tinder? Sure. It’s your time. Notice how you feel about five minutes into being on that platform and if it isn’t good, bail for good. Trying to keep up with all the latest FOMO crap is for kids. Find your favourite. Balance this with being willing to spend at least a few hours on any new platform you hear about, just to see if it’s your vibe. But if it isn’t, just let that shit go.
MOVE. The world’s leading epigeneticists are enthusiastically touting what we’ve known intuitively forever: The best way to positively influence your genes is to move. Movement is your body’s language. It’s life. Move how? In a way that brings you JOY. That’s really it. It’s also great if you can break a bit of a sweat, get your heart rate up, breathe more deeply for a while, and build a little muscle while you’re at it. But honestly, prancercise, run marathons, dance in your living room to that music you’re (re)discovering, have more sex. Just MOVE.
A few downsides to aging and how to mitigate them
There are a few downsides to aging. One is hormone shifts. People, for real, get support here. Whether it’s your doctor, a naturopath or nutrition specialist, learn what hormones are and how yours are best balanced. You’ll be shocked at how long you’ve lived not understanding how much this system has been ruling your life.
Another is aches and pains. Your body is basically slowly drying out. That’s a lot of what aging is – going back to dust. Sexy. I know. But it’s the truth. So a few key things to take care of the physical struggle:
- Drink water. For me it’s warm lemon water first thing when I wake up. As much as I crave.
- Strengthen your joints. Almost all of your aches and pains will be in your joints, so take good care of them. It’s a relatively small, incremental investment to reap huge rewards. Your single best option here is mobility training. It’s literally anti-inflammatory strength-training for your joints that’s gonna nourish and heal them for the long run. This is your best long-game move and it’s simple to add to your list of important things for a good life.
I’ve changed how I teach movement specifically to focus on moving great now so you’ll FEEL great in the long run.
My Movement Flow classes are a balanced blend of mobility training, yoga-style flow, and core strength basics.
Plus they’re great fun and I’m blessed with a great crew of people who’ve experienced the benefits and have become committed regulars. It’s an easy way to be sure you get all the mobility you need while enjoying a lot of the other things in that list up there: slowing down, being around good people, listening to some good tunes, and moving. Bring some water and my god you’re basically set for life. 😉
Like I say, get moving in any way that brings you joy. If that happens to be my Movement Flow classes, I’m delighted and would love to have you there. You can get online live and/or video access HERE. If you’ve never tried mobility, I’m doing three FREE mini-mobility intro sessions that you can sign up for HERE to see if it’s for you. Then we can meet and you can see if Movement Flow classes are your jam, totally risk-free.
Whatever you choose, choose for your future happiness my friend. These really are the best of times, if we can do the simple (not always easy) things to make them good. Please drop your $0.02 (is it $0.05 now in Canada?) in the comments, especially if you try any of my tips!