If there is one thing I’m am really good at, it is avoiding seeing people who knew me when I was young. Elementary school was awesome because I was one of the “cool” kids. Unfortunately, a transfer to a private school in sixth grade flipped my world upside down and I felt like an outcast all the way through high school. I referred to it as being on the fringe. College helped me reset how I felt about myself and my status in life. Moving to another state really did the trick because I was judged only on the me of that time. Blogging and becoming involved in social media marketing helped me flourish, set bigger goals for myself and become a happier person.
While I do have some friends I would like to spend more time with, for the most part I avoid my past like the plague. It just brings back too many haunting memories. Outside of that, I’m a very social person with no qualms about talking to total strangers, speaking on a panel at a conference or being filmed for a video.
On New Year’s Eve my brother (finally) got married. I looked at the invited guests and felt immediate anxiety at seeing some old schoolmates on the list. At the event, seeing these people wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. People who I had not seen in years walked up to me and said “I wasn’t sure I would recognize anyone but I definitely recognized you.”
That made me feel much better. Actually, it made me feel kind of good. Despite the fact that I’m aging, I generally feel pretty good about myself. I don’t look like my 20-something self, but I think I wear mid-40s pretty well. Maybe it’s because I’m learning to age gracefully, but I like to believe it is because I’m taking care of myself. Here are some of my tips:
Always BE the best you can. I don’t mean in a competitive way, but rather a person who others want to be around. Walk with a smile, do the right thing even when others aren’t and treat others the way you wish to be treated. If you are perpetually negative, others will see that. More important, you will feel the effects of a pessimistic attitude. Be happy with the person you see looking back at you in the mirror.
Take care of your body, mind and soul.
Eat right, exercise, do brain activities and find things that make you feel good about yourself. Even if you struggle to stay on target with the things that help you achieve happiness, remember that each morning you wake up to a new beginning. Wipe the slate clean of things that are bothering you. Leave grudges in the past. Forgive and forget arguments you may have been involved in. Couldn’t find time or ambition to exercise yesterday? Do something today, even if that means just a walk around the block or parking further from the entrance to the store. This also means making family a priority. Eat together, exercise together, play together. Enjoy the company, love and companionship of parents, children, siblings and even pets.
Avoid or limit “sin tax” items.
I’ve never smoked or used tobacco products. Ever. I’ve never had any urges to do so, either. When I was in college, my best friend always asked people not to smoke around me because it made me sick. It still does. While I do enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine occasionally, I limit myself. Even at events with an open bar, I make a point to stop at two. I can’t be happy with myself (see #1) if I’m stumbling over things – literally and figuratively.
Be aware of the sun.
A tan can be beautiful, but there are more concerns than skin cancer. Have you ever seen a person who spent a lot of time in the sun but didn’t take care of their skin? I know people my age and younger who spent so much time sunbathing their skin looks like leather. Always remember that sunscreen is your friend.
Use makeup that works for you.
There are some make-up products I use that are inexpensive, others that are mid-priced and some that are considered luxury. I use a mix of products that don’t cause my skin to break out. My favorites are Almay and Bare Minerals. Since I use minimal amounts of make-up, the money I spend on makeup goes a long way.
Take care of your skin.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized the importance of a skin care routine. I’m not one to wear a lot of makeup so I’ve never felt the need to create a cleansing regimen at the end of the day. When I shower in the morning, I pay much more attention than ever before. In addition to cleansing my face, I apply serums, creams and moisturizers, preferably ones with SPF properties (see #4).
Mind your check-ups.
I’ll be the first to admit I hate visiting the doctor, dentist and all the other medical mumbo jumbo. However, it is necessary. Preventive care is important followed closely by early detection. If you have a concern about something, don’t be afraid to inquire. An unusual lump or consistent headaches. If you are mindful of your overall well-being (see #3), it will help in the long run. As an example, I recently contacted my dentist and asked if they could look at something on my tooth. It wasn’t bothering me, but I knew it wasn’t right. They checked it out and confirmed it was very early stages of a cavity forming. I was surprised when they said this was a first for them. They never had anyone make that request; it was extremely early and barely noticeable. I noticed. That’s what mattered. Had I waited until my check-up, or even worse, delayed an appointment, it would have been a much more severe problem (both medically and financially).
I’ve discovered that the best approach to living happily is being happy with myself. Utilizing these tactics has been a sure-fire way to do it.
What do you do to take care of yourself?