I remember when my mom turned 50 – she threw a big party for herself with all her friends and family. Everyone was all dressed up. Catered food everywhere. Fancy location. I came with my college boyfriend and we were polite to everyone – making the most boring small talk all night long. When we walked out, we both just looked at each other and said “they are so old! And boring!” We laughed, threw off our fancy clothes, grabbed some free drinks, and went and parked behind the local Chuck E Cheese.
Fast forward 30 years and here I am, turning 50 myself. I am now the old, boring, fancy lady at the party, but I don’t feel it. I am proud to say I actually got carded this August when dropping my 2 daughters off at college. Actually proud is the wrong word – I was ecstatic that I still get carded but I need to pretend to be humble about it. All this to say… I do feel amazing & beautifully confident for turning 50, and I would love to share some of my thoughts as to how I got here.
There are enough articles out there where us old people give advice to our younger selves. We certainly don’t need another one. And actually, the world does not need another “what I know” article but I’m 50 now and that means I think I have something to say. Below are my tips on what works for me, and allowed me to get to 50 and still able to kick any 25 year olds’ butt in the gym. The choices I started making in my twenties accumulated, and as I got older I committed more and more – I just tried to be a little bit better every day.
Follow the Passion
I taught exercise classes in college, through law school and even while in my full time career as an attorney. I liked the two-for-one deal of getting paid to work out and I also really enjoyed teaching, connecting with people, being healthy, and staying active. I ate clean food before that was cool. I had no way of knowing where this would take me at the time, but ultimately following that passion led me to owning a thriving pilates studio outside of Washington DC. And THAT led me to so much more than I could have ever anticipated. Bottom line, do what you love and the road will open us to you as you proceed. It sounds corny, but it’s true.
Move, Every Day
Do I want everyone to join my pilates studio? Yes, I really do. It is great for everyone, sustainable for the long run and totally injury proof. But if hard core, kick your ass, “you can’t believe how weak you really are” pilates is not for you, then do what works for you. Just move every day – walk, bike, lift, HiiT, whatever will get those feet moving. My father barely exercised a day in his life and it is hard to watch him walk now that he is 82. So do whatever you can to avoid THAT. And another thing – you are (most likely) not an Olympic athlete and likely will never be. As a result, you do NOT need to kill it at the gym lifting ridiculous loads of weight, hurting your back or knees, and punishing your body on a regular basis. There are no Gold Medals being handed out. That does not typically end well for most people unless you are an orthopedic surgeon. (Shout out to my husband who did this in his 20’s and 30’s and regrets it every time he bends down to put on his socks) All that being said, if you are willing to commit to your long-term health, no matter your age, you can achieve some great things.
I burn and rarely tan. As a result, I stopped my pathetic tanning attempts when I was 19 and began my 30-year obsession with sunscreen. Trust me on this one – every woman in their 40’s and 50’s I know (but for one dear friend of mine who worships the sun and loves looking like a raisin) – wishes they took better care of their skin. Every single one. My oldest daughter listens to me on this one, my second one does not – we will see how that turns out, right?
Every single day for almost the last 30 years, I have slathered on LeRoche Posay Vitamin C serum morning and night. Without fail. It has a ton of benefits and is the holy grail for skin care. If you don’t start today, your future wrinkles are on you (and all over your face).
Even if you are in your 20’s, find a dermatologist who will listen to you, give you time and give you a plan for long term health and beauty and then stick with it. Same thing for a primary care doctor – preferably an integrative functional MD who will take the time to understand any issues you have and how you can fix them, not just throw a pill at the problem. This little crew of mine helps me literally be and look my best self. Read my earlier blog how my doctor quite literally saved my life and made me well again.
Find Your Tribe
I have always had a big group of girlfriends. Despite having 4 older brothers, I like hanging out with my girls. Luckily I grew up on a street with 5 other girls my age and that seemed to set the pattern for large groups of friends. As I plan for my 50th birthday celebrations, I am so grateful to have so many groups to party with. I have my fellow business owner girlfriends who have become such great friends in just a few years; my high school friends, my college friends, my pilates studio peeps, and then a group of friends in my neighborhood. These friendships mean everything to me and enrich my soul.
One last corny, but true bit of advice is that the #1 trick to looking good is being happy. And to be happy, for me and most people, is to have loving, quality relationships in your life. I talk to most of those treasured friends every single week. I put my phone down and get 100% present when the kids talk to me. I text, email, or call people regularly. I drive long ways to spend time with people and have constant overnight visitors at my home. And the payback is worth all the work. As for those people that can’t be bothered to connect with me, the feeling is mutual. There is already so much love and admiration with my friends and family, I no longer waste my time with those people. Now that is something I wish I knew when I was younger.
Most people know the right choices to make for a healthier life, they just don’t do it on a consistent enough basis. I simply choose to be the person who tries to be a little bit healthier every day.