Guess what? I’m almost a half-century-old…on April Fool’s Day I’ll turn 49. (Yes, I’m an April Fool, but we all knew I was a fool anyway, this explains it further…)
I’m not sure how it happened. I mean, holy cow 49 sounds old!
I can tell you, I do NOT feel old: I’ve never felt old and I don’t intend to ever feel old, fat and sluggish like many of my clients tell me they feel.
I do intend on getting older, but I prefer to equate age with good wine. I intend on just getting better.
With age there are a few benefits that are undeniable. Experience speaks volumes and if you’re paying attention it’s the best teacher. I’ve used experience to help me become a healthier and happier person.
Indulge me for a minute here. I get asked all the time how I appear younger than my years, so I’ll let you in on a few things.
Obviously, I’ve invested in my health. This comes in the form of training, eating and sleeping. (Don’t discount the investment in rest as a form of self-care and health.)
I’ve also invested time in molding my thoughts so that I can be a happy person, many may think that this is an impossibility, but actually, controlling the thoughts in your head is one way to get what you want out of life.
First of all, training….
I like to think I have a healthy balance with regards to training. I train every day, but my workouts are short and effective. I control my workouts, versus letting my workouts control me.
Many mistake quantity over quality time where working out is concerned. It’s consistency over time that really matters. The fact that I’ve trained consistently for my whole life is probably the reason that I’m as lean and more muscular now as when I was in my teens.
I don’t have an obsession with my weight or anything, although I’d be the first to admit that one of the main benefits of fitness is to look good. My body just needs to move in order to keep my head happy.
If I gave into every piece of chocolate or bread that I wanted to have, I’d probably be 200 lbs of buttery sludge. A little self-denial can be a good thing where food is concerned.
Over time, I know and crave food that makes me feel good. Every meal and snack is taken one at a time and I make a choice to take in food that will nourish and fuel me.
On occasion I’ll eat all the ‘seemingly yummy’ foods I feel like I’m missing out on and I feel horrible. It’s self-correcting behavior.
I was the only kid I’m sure that had a self-imposed bedtime. I knew early on that I couldn’t function without sleep. Since I always had 5 am swim workouts, I learned to value my rest. Once my swim days were over, I still valued rest, knowing that whether I needed to recover from a workout or from the stress of life, sleep was key.
Obviously, even if you do all the things to take care of the body, but the head is messed up, happiness will be elusive.
Here are a 10 ‘must do’s’ that have helped me ‘grow up’:
An embarrassing fact: I have journals from when I was 10 years old, chronicling silly things like when I beat Michael H. in an arm wrestling match. The fact is, keeping a journal has been invaluable in helping me figure ‘me’ out. I need to write things down to clarify things in my head. This works for me and I recommend it to everyone.
2. Be positive to a fault
Limit exposure to negativity. It’s a contagious cancer. Surround yourself with positive people and bring value to them. It’s clichéd, but seeing the cup half full is just an easier way to look at life. I haven’t always been positive; it’s taken a lot of work and mental energy to choose to see the bright side of things. This is a mental training exercise like doing push ups; with continued practice it’s possible to get better at it.
3. Choose your hill to die on
There are some things that really don’t matter that much in the scheme of things. Will an issue matter in one year, five years, ten years from now? I try not to lose too much sleep over those and I try to focus my energy on the things that really matter. I’m not going to battle for everything. Learning to let go of things I can’t change or control has been a helpful anti-aging tool.
4. Have a generous nature
Be generous with not only money, but also time and spirit. Living with an attitude of scarcity is a lonely life. I don’t spend money that I don’t have but I’m learning to enjoy my money and spend it on others too.
5. More journals
This time make it a training journal. It helps maintain focus and energy on my workouts. I have loads of journals that have kept me accountable over the years. It’s cool to see how my training has morphed and how I stack up to myself from 20 years ago.
6. Weigh yourself daily
This may sound like strange advice, but if you want to know your body, pay attention to it. Learn how your body reacts to food, hormones, stress, travel etc. Your weight is a simple tool to help to that end. One reason why I’ve never gained weight is because I know my body. As long as getting on the scale isn’t a head game that ruins your day, do it to help you stay on track. If you gain a pound or two, by weighing daily you’ll know when it’s water or when it’s time to tighten up the eating habits.
7. Lose the frump
I wear current fashions that make me look and feel good although I’m no fashionista. I’m sad for women that forever go strictly for comfort over style. I go on a rant about that here. I’d be the first to admit there’s always a time and place for sweat pants and pigtails.
8. Get a dog!
Dogs teach so much about love and loyalty. I’ve had dogs for over twenty years. I love my dog and hope that someday I can love others as unselfishly as my dog loves me.
9. Have sex!
Did I just say that?? The truth is, we’re sexual creatures and it’s important to find a healthy way to express sexuality. I know that it’s a little weird to be talking about this kind of thing of my blog but sex is everywhere and we need to acknowledge it. That’s all I’ll say about that…;)
10. Dream big
Think about what you want out of life and then never give up on your hopes and dreams. By thinking positively and surrounding yourself with positive people, it creates opportunities. Seriously, I re-invented myself in my forties. I went from a conservative Catholic schoolteacher to a risk taking successful business owner. I could never have done this if I listened to negative talkers or if I put a lid on my dreams.
So, Happy Birthday to me!
I’ll never lie about my age. I’m going to celebrate the fact that I’m nearly a half a century young. I plan on living another half century so I can get back to you on some tips after another 49 years of good living. And oh by the way, if you want to stay young with more of my tips. you can check out my program here.