6 Ways to Age Gracefully

With the exception of my 19th birthday, when I celebrated my first–and only–birthday/aging crisis, I’ve hit every year with a shrug and a smile.

While I am guilty of trying to remember how and where I wasted so much time (damn you facebook!); I don’t get bogged down in the glory days.

Not about my kids– They grow up so fast– where are my babies?
Not about myself– Wait, wasn’t I 16 like a minute ago?

What makes some people age gracefully? I came up with 6 ways.

1) Choices. The average day represents a series of choices; good, bad, or meh. Be proud, or embarrassed. Resolve to repeat, or avoid. But most of all– make, and accept responsibility, for them.

2) Attitude. Smiling attitudes are pleasant; surly ones are not.
Oh, how I struggle here. I suffer– and I do mean, suffer, from a nasty temper. I will blow up on a mo-fo in a second. I’m a redhead, what can I say? I’m impatient and critical.

See # 1.

It’s not about focusing on the don’ts and the nos and the stops.
It’s not about riding a unicorn on a rainbow of awesomeness.
It’s about Walk and Don’t Run meaning the same thing, just put a different way.

3) Find Healthy Fun: Perhaps you like to do projects that require a sledge hammer and a drill. Perhaps you prefer pedicures for your gnarly feet. Maybe you like to read, write, garden, run, count lady bugs– who cares. Constant complaining doesn’t count as fun. Unless you find another complainer and limit the behavior to that person.

4) Don’t surround yourself with crappy people. Self-explanatory? If we don’t share DNA and the relationship isn’t reciprocal, either in support or services? We won’t be sharing a relationship for long. And I’m cool with that.

5) Sunscreen: This is a no-brainer by now, right? As I sit here with a lobster-red sunburn in 4 places where I missed with the sunscreen. A healthy golden glow is lovely, and a sign of good Vitamin D absorption, but leather skin only looks nice on cows and couches.

6) Be realistic in your reminiscing. My memories of high school are ambivalent at best. Did I have fun skipping school to participate in a variety of naughty behaviors? Sure. Spending most of my Senior year grounded? Not so much.

I have to admit that College, Version 1.0 was fabulous. I hit the dorm room at 17, having skipped my junior year of high school. Which makes that first semester’s 0.4 GPA that much more delicious. College, Version 2.0 was less fabulous, what with that full-time job/school thing. But I still squeezed in the good times.

I’m very happy to have hangovers and wince-worthy dating experiences back in the past. Like, waaaayyyy back there, in a place where my children will never find them.

Then there are the memories so far removed from my present reality that I can’t even quite grasp that they are mine.

Like that month I was in the Navy. Wait, THE NAVY? Yeah, see? Being 18 wasn’t all rainbows and unicorn farts.