In our culture youth is coveted like never before -- 50 is the new 30, they say. I often get mistaken for being a lot younger than I actually am. People sometimes even think I'm only 18, which is a great compliment, but they're wrong! I want to talk about how I've accomplished this "agelessness."
Like a lot of people, I've had a lot of really shitty stuff happen to me throughout my life, and there was a point where I promised myself that I would try to make the best of my life and stay young forever.
It wasn't just about looks, though a good moisturizer does help. It was about attitude. Regardless of what happened to me, there are a few things I've consistently done to keep myself forever young.
- Never Bring Anyone Down. People are shocked when they find out about my past because they cannot fathom how I am such a positive person after what happened to me. There are many reasons why I am so positive. When I went through the difficult times I was in so much pain that I never wanted to make anyone else feel as bad as I did, so no matter what I was always positive and supportive of those around me. I don't believe in bringing people down just because you're in a bad mood.
- Give Yourself the Freedom to Do Whatever You Want. When things really weren't going my way, I had to do whatever it took to make myself somewhat happy. So I did whatever I wanted: shopping, trips, working out, eating chocolate, whatever I wanted that was within my means at the time. And I remember there was a time where I only had $300 in cash to my name and no job prospects. I was around 20 at the time and had just broken up with this guy. One night, for the heck of it, I took off and drove to Woods Hole, Massachusetts and took the ferry to Martha's Vineyard, where I stayed for the day. When I got home I only had about $200 left, but I didn't care, there was always more money to be made.
- Go with the Flow. Learning to go with the flow instead of stressing about everything is a lesson I'm still learning, but I do understand the value of going with the flow. Life is more exciting when you don't know what's going to happen next. This, of course, is not always a good thing, but it does take some of the responsibility of things off of your shoulders.
- Love Everyone Unconditionally. I try not to judge anyone. I don't like the way it feels when my mind starts compartmentalizing and putting people into specific categories, so I just try my best to ignore it and take the person for who they are. Unless the person is dishonest or dangerous this is a perfectly acceptable idea. Besides, placing judgement brings up some very negative emotions, and negative emotions aren't good for anyone.
- Always Share. Life is so much more fun when you have people to share it with. So never be afraid to share your time, your food, your laughter or your heart.
- Always Be Genuine and Say Thank-You. I swear to God, if I wasn't nice I wouldn't have gotten anywhere. You hear about all these people who got to the top by being cutthroat, but I just don't see it. I'm sure it happens, but how much fun could it be when you get to the top if everybody underneath despises you?
- Have Gratitude, Especially During Difficult Times. During difficult times having gratitude is a hard thing to accomplish. When you are down about something counting your blessings can actually raise your spirit, no matter how few blessings you may perceive yourself to have -- or not have -- at the time. One universal law explains that good things come to the people who are thankful for them. Think about it: Would you rather give a gift to someone who isn't excited to receive one or to someone who is thrilled to get a gift from you?
- Live in the Moment. Many people never truly live. These are the folks who are too busy saving all their money for retirement. This is a good idea to an extent, but how many people do you know who never spent a penny on themselves because they were saving it for later, and then they died? Or how about the people who put off doing things until "later?" I will travel when I retire. I will take up acting lessons after I pay off my car. Don't die without living out your dreams.
- Try Everything. My aunt always says that I was probably severely handicapped in my last life. Why does she say this?? Because my life's "to do list" is about seven miles long. I learned not to limit myself from doing things because I didn't think I'd like them. If I never stepped outside of these boundaries I would've never tried sushi, gone snorkeling or auditioned for a TV station in front of hundreds of people. All of these experiences expanded my mind. Though I don't eat sushi anymore, I did love it for a while. I was terrified of snorkeling before I tried it, and now I want to go scuba diving! As for the TV audition, I think that was one of my biggest, most life changing moments. Though I failed miserably, the power I felt after actually trying out gave me more confidence -- if I could do that, then I could do anything.
- Don't Take Anything Too Seriously, Including Yourself. Again, another one I'm still learning but only because I think too much and am constantly lost in my own thoughts. Because of this I come off as serious or even angry at times, of which I am neither. It's important to be able to laugh at yourself -- especially at your failures. If you can't make fun of yourself by laughing at your most miserable and humiliating moments then you are going to be a grumpy person.
Remember: Youth is a mindset. If you want to be 19 forever you can certainly make it happen, or at least come close! If you have anything to add to the list please leave your suggestions in the comment section below.
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