Aging Youthfully


Aging is inevitable but how one ages is a choice. You can be old in spirit or young at heart. There is something irresistibly attractive about a man or a woman, at any age who lives life with the curiosity of a child and someone brimming over with love. Everyone wants to be around that person.

The famous Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics, is credited with promoting the following line to her company’s associates, “Fake it, ‘til you make it.” I love that line and have never felt it meant encouraging one to be a phony or living life as an imposter but rather I felt it meant that sometimes how we act, influences what we become.

Let’s take smiling for example. If a person smiles more he or she eventually becomes more happy and emotionally light. And, when we’re walking – if we take slightly more brisk steps, that simple action lifts our spirits. Both, by the way, camouflage age. The latter is actually energizing, too. Finally, how you speak to yourself and others is either youthful or not. Negative self-talk is a downer and even shows on a person’s face; they just become negative and grumpy. When you’re negative you’re simply a pain to be around. People would rather be happy, uplifted and positive than to keep company with a downer.

Yes, attitude is critical but before we jump deeper into that arena, let’s look at the real simple things we can do physically to appear much more youthful. First, white teeth and white eyes are dazzling – so everyone forgets your age. As we get older our teeth turn darker due to years of smoking, drinking red wine and eating spaghetti sauce or other foods that stain – even tea. So, if you’d like to change that, visit your dentist, buy a tooth whitening kit or switch your toothpaste. Clear eyes can be achieved with drops. Our eyes turn more yellow or brownish with age, as well. It’s the UV rays, dust and other environmental pollutants that do it. A quick trip to the drug store for drops called Lumify will do the trick. Lumify appears to be safer for regular use than Visine, per my ophthalmologist.

Another curse of aging is thinning hair. Thick hair is more youthful, trust me on that. I had a friend in her 60’s who had a very young face but her hair was so thin that her scalp showed on top and she looked 10-15-years older. One day I suggested she buy a wig because I thought she’d look fabulous in one – plus many years younger. I wasn’t sure she’d paid attention but a week or so later, I stopped by her house to pick her up and when she opened the door I nearly fell over; she looked 20 years younger. She looked truly adorable in the cutest short black wig I’d ever seen. But, if wigs don’t feel right for you, there are also supplements and treatments that help regrow thinning hair. There’s always an answer.

Besides eyes, hair and teeth – another really big culprit to retaining your youthfulness is posture. Standing more erect is more youthful but that can be tough for some living with a frame that’s now bending forward. One cause of that may be surprisingly is contracting psoas muscles in a person’s stomach. Although most would assume this muscle’s main function to lift the leg towards the body, the psoas also wraps around and attaches to the spine – so if it tightens, the psoas muscle can also pull the spine downward. Ask a talented masseuse to help – massaging that muscle until it relaxes is the key. I watched a miracle happen over a period of weeks with a friend of mine who’s posture had begun to affect his ballroom dancing – until he found my friend Patricia. She worked on him weekly and if a more erect posture is something you’d like, a talented masseuse is worth the investment.

Dressing for success is also helpful. Having pride in one’s appearance helps shift focus from one particular aging feature, to a person’s overall appearance. So, if you’re a guy with a favorite old shirt and baggy pants, ditch ‘em. Dig out some fresh slacks and the shirts you were saving for a special occasion and wear those. Life is a special occasion. Women should, every day, take care of their hair – with good color and cut – a little lip gloss or light makeup and your entire manner perks up – plus donning an outfit that makes you feel good makes a woman look great, too.

Finally, too much weight isn’t a positive, either. Skinny is not ideal for a maturing woman but packing on the extra pounds does tend to age a person. Whatever your normal weight once was is the perfect weight for you now. So, if you were always large, that’s OK. All the new weight around the middle is what is telling. Exercise or just walking will help activate your circulation, help burn a couple calories, keep the glow alive and maintain joint flexibility. Besides, it’s a great energizer overall.

I hope you realize how many factors can contribute to a more youthful you. Inner beauty is one of the big ones – whether you’re 60 or 100. And, the main ingredient for inner beauty is love. People who are open to God’s love and let it flow through them give off such an amazing energy that it attracts followers and admirers. Coupled with a sense of humor and oh, my goodness – you may become irresistible. I’m not talking about being a jokester but rather being able to laugh at life and one’s self. Really, after most of us have been through in our lives – the fact that we’re still here should draw a knowing grin.

Finally, staying interested in life makes us interesting to others. The concept of lifelong learning is more than a catch phrase – it’s essential to good mental health and warding off dementia, too. Being interesting means “having a life”. So, if you don’t have a hobby – get one, read a few books, see old friends or make new ones, take a class on something, travel more – even day trips and learn to appreciate the wonders of life again. Trust me, if you do many of these things, people will forget how old you are and simply want to hang out with you.

My biological mother, Sally, lived in an assisted living center during her 90’s and she was the woman all the men wanted to sit with at lunch or dinner. Why? Sally was fun, she was a good listener and she didn’t complain about her aches and pains or the ancient history of her life. The men who loved to be in her company were all 10-20 years younger. Sound fun?

So, unleash your inner child, look in the mirror and see the potential that exists for you - with just a little improvement. Take up dancing, listen to more music and make the rest of your life an adventure. When you embrace life’s journey with that spirit - everybody will want to join you on the trip.

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