As I begin my 29th trip around the sun, my 29th year of life, I cannot help but notice that I feel younger than I did at 24. 29 feels like 28 feels like 21. It is all the same. Our age does not define us, our attitude towards our age does.
I have my mom to thank for this mentality of agelessness. When I was growing up, she was never depressed about another year of life – and she still isn’t. She honestly never knew how old she was. At each birthday, we would have to do the math to figure out her age, only to forget the next year and have to do it again. Her reaction to the number we would calculate was the best though. It was something between a nonchalant shrug and a smirk of disbelief, sometimes even a, “Holy shit! Really?”. She didn’t believe the math because she never let go of her wild and free spirit from her youth. To her, age is just a meaningless number. It doesn’t matter what time says, she is ageless within. She welcomes each birthday with smiles and a carefree attitude that is simply contagious. She is the best example of getting older that I could have asked for. But not only does she not let the growing numbers get her down, she literally pays no attention to them – this, I believe, is the real secret. She has always told my sister and I that she is still 24, and she acts like it too! I’ve met very few women who have as much fun in life, and who care so little about their age as my mom. Because of this invaluable example on how to live, I am forever young. Thanks mama!
This photo is from my mama’s birthday in 2013 – look at the smile!
A number is just a number. We have minutes and hours and years so that we may keep track of this illusive thing called time as we travel through the solar system, but in the end we are placing barriers on ourselves.
What if instead of dreading birthdays and growing older, we got excited like we did when we were children – and even used half ages? “I’m 55 and a half! Woo!” What if instead of working in high stress jobs that we hate, living for the weekend and wasting 5 of 7 days a week in utter boredom, we actually had jobs that made us happy and made us money at the same time? What if we looked in the mirror and celebrated the wrinkles and saggy bits and thought of them as marks of a life full of experiences?
In absolutely everything, we have a choice. You can walk on the sunny side of the street and celebrate everything or lurk in the shadows and say, “why me?”.
There are many things that contribute to our (us, as a society) negative association with age. Among the most damaging though, I believe, are the impossible standards set by the media and celebrities of how we should look at each defining age. We are told to rid ourselves of the wrinkles with expensive creams and damaging surgeries, we are bombarded with photos of ageless models and celebrities that are a hybrid between a human and a Photoshop creation – Frankensteins. These standards are not only impossible, they are debilitating. The products sold to us to “stop the aging process” are expensive, full of chemicals, and in the end fruitless. You cannot stop the aging process. We are all going to age and become loose and saggy. We should treat our bodies well now, enjoying the tightness, and just embrace the inevitable changes to come.
I am blessed with full cheeks, which skillfully trick everyone I meet into thinking I am much younger at first glance. But beyond my appearance, I think it is my young spirit that fools everyone – even myself. I don’t feel 29 at all. When I tell people my age I laugh a little in disbelief because it sounds so weird coming out of my mouth.
If you do what makes you happy in work and in life, then you will feel mentally and physically lighter and have more energy to do other things you love…like play!
To live is to play, and when we stop playing we start forgetting what it is to live. Just because we are not children anymore does not mean we have to stop skipping and wondering and taking time to let loose. When was the last time you connected with your inner child and let him or her out to play?
We are all just big kids who need hugs and praise and naps and playtime and chocolate.
I know that as adults we have many responsibilities; stressful jobs, children to raise, mortgages and bills to pay, and food to buy. I live a pretty charmed life with almost no stress so I really enjoy the time that I have free. But I chose this path, and I was on a very different path before I moved to Spain. I felt 30 when I was 24, working a stressful sales job, traveling for work, meeting sales goals, managing employees under me, taking work home with me (mentally and literally) and paying bills. But all along, I knew there was more to life than what society had trained me to expect after university. I knew that there had to be more out there than getting a degree and a job and then just working until I could finally retire and enjoy life again. Living for the weekend is a perfect waste of 5 days of life every week! It just never sat right with me and I felt that I was being tricked.
Since I quite my high-stress job to travel in 2012, I have worked to travel since – only staying in one place long enough to save up and hit the road again. There are countless ways to live and I have found one that works for me.
Don’t do what is expected of you, do what you expect will make you happy.
Our current society is mental slavery but we hold the key to the shackles that imprison us.
The key is our attitude and our choices. The secret is that our souls don’t age and our minds don’t either. The truth is that we can do whatever we want.
I know for some it truly is stressful to grow older. You may not be where you thought you would be at this age, but you probably also didn’t realize how quickly time flies when you were younger. Go easy on yourself and let go of expectations and attachments to anything but the present moment.
Release and reap the rewards.
Make a point to play and do something that makes you feel alive and gets your blood pumping. Make yourself laugh – laugh at yourself. Reunite with the child within and you will open the door to a beautiful and fulfilling mentality that will take 10 years off your back. Eat well, drink water, exercise, go into nature, be creative, ask questions and let go.
Be happy, be silly, be weird, be free, be young at heart, and you will truly become eternal.