I’ve seen a lot of mention lately on social media on the topic of “What you would say (or a letter to) your younger self?” This really spoke to me, as I just celebrated a milestone birthday that is so unbelievable, so unfathomable, that I really can’t even say the number. It’s not so much about the number, it’s what you grew up hearing your parents, grandparents and elders saying about their own lives. They just don’t know where all the years went and how fast the time flew by. Now, I am not sentimental but in reaching this milestone birthday, I’ve realized I’ve lived an interesting, full, and happy life so far. Yes, it’s been full of success, and disappointments, wonder, and adventure.
As I was approaching this birthday, I was first touched when I found a “friendship book” and letter my lifelong BFF, Holly, had given me when we graduated High School. We’ve been best friends since we’re 14 and our mothers were friends as well. It’s a very special friendship. She also celebrated her milestone birthday, and I’m happy to say she is and will always be 10 days older than me. When I read this book and what she wrote to me all those years ago, all I could think of is “how did this happen”? Weren’t we just the 14 year old girls, who thought they were so grown up, writing poems about boys, going to the ice skating rink on Friday nights and having sleep-overs? What she said to me in that letter really touched me and stood the test of time and is as true and relevant today as the day she wrote it.
Our paths did go in very different directions, I’m in AZ, she’s in NJ, she has been married since we were 19 to one of those boys we wrote poems about as teenage girls, and it took me until recently and a number of mistakes to find my true love, but our bond, and friendship and love for each other endured even through some years of separation from each other, life challenges, tragedies and many changes. After lots of tears and memories, I sent her that book she gave me so many years ago, to celebrate her big birthday. You can imagine, the emotions in our next conversation and how that conversation went.
So that got me reflecting on what I believe and have learned is most important in life. I’m still a work in progress and I still work on all of this every day. I’m sure you’ve heard most of these before, and sorry for the clichés, but they are all my truths.
~ There will always be someone younger, prettier, smarter, and more successful than you. Appreciate where you are and what you have and look forward to what’s next.
~ Love deeply, passionately and strongly. Don’t hold back. Tell the people you love that you love them every time you see or talk to them because you don’t know when you’ll have that opportunity again.
~ Surround yourself with diverse people in your life of all different ages, backgrounds and beliefs. It just gives you a better balance and perspective on life.
~ Don’t be afraid to seek or ask for help. You’re not alone. There are many times in my life and throughout the years including now, that I reached out to friends, family, acquaintances, coaches, therapists and mentors. It makes you stronger recognizing that you needed help outside of yourself.
~ Be true to yourself. This is key. Anytime I’ve strayed from my instincts and knowing myself, I’ve been sorry.
~ Get rid of and know when to walk away from negativity and drama in your life, both people and situations. If you don’t, it will take you down.
~ Many people will pass through your life, but the ones that stay or come back, mean everything.
~ Say “Yes” and take the risk. Most of the time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
~ Take good care of yourself both mind and body. Continue to challenge yourself, setting and achieving new goals, and be healthy. Exercise regularly, you don’t have to go overboard or spend hours in the gym, just make it part of your daily routine. Eat healthy as a choice, but don’t deprive yourself. Have that ice cream, pizza, cookie, cheeseburger, bacon or cocktail, just all in moderation.
~ Most importantly, never give up on your dreams and wishes and always continue to have new ones. I’ve reinvented myself so many times in my life, more times than Madonna or Brittany Spears, and truly believe when you stop dreaming, you stop living.
Getting old sucks, but as my friend Lori told me many years ago after losing a sister to cancer at a very young age, think of the alternative. There is a ton of more maintenance as you get older – hormones, hair (it seems to grow where you don’t want it to and stops growing where you want it), doctors, eye glasses, nails, hearing loss, it’s endless. My body hurts more, my skin is more saggy & wrinkled, my washboard abs that I always worked so hard on are no longer so washboard, but, I love deeper, I’m more fearless, I’m not afraid to do or say what I want. I’m happier and more balanced than ever for lots of reasons, and I look forward to the future and whatever it brings me. I’ve lived a lot and done it all. I’ve done everything that all of you have done and probably much, much, much more, but thank goodness it wasn’t documented on Facebook or Instagram.
Yes, I’m 60 Years young! I said it. Although I really don’t know where those years went, it was a flash, and wish I had done certain things differently, it all took me to where I am today and who I am today. I can’t wait to see what’s next and what’s ahead.
As I was writing this, I came across this quote from one of the most beautiful, sexy, talented, accomplished, and admired women in the world. It sums up everything I’ve wanted to say on turning 60:
“There is a Fountain of Youth. It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. “ – Sophia Loren