In January, I celebrated my 37th birthday. And let me tell you… a couple of years ago, I would NOT have been announcing my age. Heck! Probably not even last year.
You see, after I hit the big 3-Oh!, I insisted for years that I was turning 29. Again and again. My youngest son even told people that I was 29, completely out of the blue. [You know how young kids can offer up information when you least expect it?!] My sweet husband, with a wink and a smile, would adorn my birthday cake with those big number candles, a 2 and a 9, each year. It got to a point where I had to actually do the math one year to figure out how old I really was. Doh!
There was a time in my life when my birthdays were highly anticipated. I remember feeling so giddy and excited when I was about to turn 13, many moons ago. It’s all I talked about for probably weeks on end… This notion of becoming a teenager was a HUGE deal to me. And on my 13th birthday, my father asked me, jokingly, “So, do you feel any different today?” .. My answer was — Not really.
But this year, I do feel different. It didn’t happen over night, but at this point in my life I truly feel young. I suppose I’ve let go of the cultural fallacies that women often cling to. Like, “I’m too old to do that now.” Or, “If I were in my 20’s I’d totally do or wear that!” Etc.
The list could go on forever about what we, as women, should or shouldn’t do or be at any given age.
So this year I asked myself…”What’s different? Why does my age — this seemingly BIG number — not bother me anymore?” The only thing I could honestly come up with is that in my heart I feel youthful.
It’s simple. I feel youthful because I’ve been choosing to create joy in my life. And I emphasize the word choosing, because it doesn’t always come naturally to me. I have a tendency to worry and take myself too seriously. I experienced years of severe depression early on in my life. Perhaps that was a my strongest motivator to actively create the joy I was so desperately seeking… like it was something outside of me. [It took me a while to realize it’s in me.]
What comes to mind is that scene in American Beauty. When Annette Bening, who plays the role of Caroyln, the mother in that riveting film, asks the question… Am I joyless?
I don’t want to be THAT serious. And then, just one day, go off the deep end! So, I ask myself often if I am choosing joy. Instead of using the word joy-less, I spin it into a positive.
Here are 7 things that give me joy. I believe that feeling joyful may just be the secret to truly feeling youthful.
- Polka-Dot Socks – Silly, you might say. But that’s the point. I love them and when I look at them they make me smile. Simple as that. And when we smile, we instantly look a bit younger than we are… wouldn’t you say?
- The Scent of Strawberries – Maybe purely because it takes me back to my little girl days, when my life revolved around Strawberry Shortcake. I smell strawberries, and a sort-of euphoria overtakes me just for a moment.
- Teeny-Bopper Music – Think Disney Radio’s N.B.T. Young artists with song lyrics I can no longer relate to, but I dig it. I dance around the house to it. Actually, I have a daily ritual of dancing to any music that uplifts me in the shower. It’s like medicine & I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself feeling old. You will laugh at yourself, which makes it so great.
- My Adidas Sneakers – Oh, the miles and miles I’ve walked in them…. :-) The way they hug my soles because they are so broken-in, reminds me of how far I’ve come and assures me I have many more miles to go.
- A Healthy Obsession with Kale – My diet has evolved throughout the years and in 2012 I became vegan. Kale gives me super-powers. All the food I eat makes me feel good.
- The “Weird But True”Page of NatGeo Kids Magazine – Often hilarious, always fascinating. I love to read it with my boys and watch their faces light up.
- Anything Pink – The color pink just makes me feel good. I don’t quite know how else to explain it… So I have chosen select areas of my home to incorporate this color, since it lifts my spirits at just the sight of it. My kitchen back splash & my personal meditation room are painted pink. If you ever see me out and about, chances are good that you’ll see me wearing pink.
I can honestly say that I feel younger at 37 than I did at 27. My list of youth-inspiring, joy-creators could go on and on. It’s like a fountain of youth that overflows.
More smiles means less frown-lines. Find your joy and that youthful feeling shines through. Tell me, what brings you joy?