Aging Gracefully Trumps Aging Fearfully Any Day in My BookNo one loves, loves, loves fine lines, wrinkles and cellulite, but the most naturally beautiful women in the world are the ones who accept them as part of their lives. Instead of obsessing over their lines, they are busy traveling, cooking, spending time with family and friends. So this year, resolve to put away those fears and focus on the positive aspects of aging. Like how much wittier and interesting one gets as they get older.
Beauty Really Does (& I Mean Really) Come From WithinBack in 2011, I was at a point in my life where I needed a change. I was in my late 30s, single, working for myself and very lonely. I spent all day writing alone in my apartment and all evening sitting at home by myself, too disinterested in making social engagements. I was restless yet listless and discontent.
My dating life was busy, but abysmal. I went on dates and quickly realized most of my dates were nice guys, but men I didn't want to spend the evening with, much less a lifetime. I was very cautious, looking for signs that they were players or perhaps married in real life. Someone told me that to date in NY as a woman over 35, I had to lie about my age. To test her theory, I created a profile that took 4 years off my age and immediately scored a date with a charming man. I made myself up and thought I looked incredible. At the end of the date, which was fun and I thought a big success, I confessed my true age. I could see my date was incredibly proud of himself. He announced, "I knew it! I knew you weren't 34!" After that, I was mortified and so freaked out about my age, I paid for Botox and considered getting fillers to plump up my cheeks and the lines along my nose.
It was around this time that one of my best friends came to visit. She listened to my litany of woes and told me quite frankly, "Julyne, I know you feel sorry for yourself, but I don't feel sorry for you. You are the luckiest person I know." And with that, she listed all the things I had that many other people she knew struggled with: I had amazing friends and a lot of them, a career I loved, a family I got along with and who didn't drive me to therapy. I had the freedom and the money to travel and see the world. To top it all off, she said, I was tall and blonde and naturally fit.
What I needed was an attitude shift. I needed to be grateful for what I had (see my friend's list above) instead of mourning what I didn't (a great boyfriend and a shot at a family). Soon after this, I decided to live my life gratefully. I rented a space in an office so I could socialize more, I traveled to India "to find myself" and I learned through the help of a Hindu monk friend how to do mantras, how to invite the things I wanted into my life (namely a great guy). I spent a lot of times with friends and family relishing in their company.
It was then that my "inner voice" started speaking to me. I know this sounds hokey, and whenever I try to tell people about it, I blush with how New Age-y it sounds. If you knew me you would know that I'm so not a New Age-y person. I don't believe in Astrology or past lives and when people start asking about my sign and what moon I was born under, my eyes gloss over. But this, this inner voice stuff, I swear it happened.
Here's how it worked. One day I was lying in bed with my mind churning over something that was bothering me. Suddenly my inner voice -- a voice of full of wisdom and reason -- started speaking to me. This voice immediately calmed me down, convincing me I was totally blowing the situation out of proportion and reminding me that this was a tendency of mine.
My god, I thought, this voice, whatever it is, is giving me better advice than the therapist on Central Park West that I paid $175 every week for 3 years to see.
As so it happened. Every time I took a moment to lay quietly in my bed, my anxiety would cause my brain to churn and then the Voice of Reason would pop up and immediately quell the anxiety. I started to think of my Inner Voice as a little man dressed in white and in angel wings who was debating with the little man in my head dressed in red with devil horns. (This is what happens when you grow up in Texas the daughter of a preacher man. Inevitably, the angels and the devils come out).
Soon, like a baby who is undergoing sleep training and learns to quieten herself when she is upset, I learned to calm down my anxious mind with reason. I called it my form of meditation and I liked it because I could do it lying in a bed of feathers instead of sitting upright on the floor in a lotus position.
So what exactly was this inner voice of mine? I'm sure followers of Freud would have a term for it and it somehow involves my id and my deep consciousness or whatever. The voice is definitely full of wisdom, having marinated in years of advice gathered from others and from reading a ton of self-help stuff and my attempts and becoming a better person. My inner voice told me when I was blowing something out of proportion. When I was angry with a friend, my inner voice reminded me to be compassionate towards her, to attempt to be empathic. Most importantly, my inner voice taught me how to be empathetic with myself.
So this was what "Looking Within" meant. All these years, my wisest friends and mentors told me I would never find answers outside myself, only inside myself and it frustrated me because I never got it. Finally, at age 39, I did.
As the Great Shift happened within me, my looks actually changed. People started telling me my skin glowed. No one could believe I was on the verge of 40. I would meet a new person socially and she would turn to someone and exclaim, "I love this woman!" My inner light had flicked on. I was on a roll. Just a few months later, I went out on a blind date with someone I was set up with by friends. I was totally myself and I broke every rule in the dating book (I want to be a mom and may do it on my own this summer! I was in therapy for years and my therapist wouldn't let me quit! I once had a semi-erotic massage at a Chinese massage parlor and liked it!). The guy, his name is Nick, was smitten. A year later, we were engaged. Less than 2 years later, we are married and expecting our first child. I feel like I won the lottery. Perhaps there is a god.
Just yesterday someone told me I was one of those women who gets better with age. I look in the mirror and I have to agree. I glow. But it has nothing to do with the cleanser I use, or moisturizers. Or even pregnancy hormones. I can't blame it on my expert foundation and concealer application. It's happiness and it shows on my face, in my posture and in my attitude.
I am proof beauty comes from within. This year, may you find your Inner Voice.
How to Attract Good People Into Your LifeI am naturally attracted to people who exude happiness and contentedness and my guess is you are, too. So this year resolve to flush out the bad things in your life: the negative friends, the annoying groups and clubs you loathe attending, some of the demands your husband and kids place on you. Take some time for yourself, focus on making yourself the best person you can be and watch as your skin changes. Yep, it's not all about moisturizer, dear.
It's All About How YOU FeelThere is no better way than to revive your inner sex goddess than to get a makeover (oh wait, maybe full on body treatments are even better? hmmmm, see the next section). If you or a friend are entering the new year feeling not so sexy, treat yourself (or them) to a haircut and color and afterwards get yourself to a makeup counter and request a makeover. Only buy what you love, love, love. Step over to another makeup counter, have the technician wipe it all off and start over. Again, only buy what you love, love, love. Keep doing this until you are either sick of makeovers or you have purchased as much makeup as one person should own in a lifetime.
Spa Treatments are a Luxury Worth the SplurgeYes, you just dropped a few grand on Christmas presents. But you are also very exhausted from visiting with people and cooking up a storm over the past couple weeks, aren't you? So then woman, get thee to the spa. Tell your husband you deserve it for all the gifts you have to wrap and all the meals you've had to prepare. And if he balks, threaten to bring him along. He just may love it. We firmly believe no woman should ever feel guilty over a seaweed wrap and deep tissue massage.
Treat Someone You Love to a Facial, a Massage or a Foot RubWe all know from Psych 101 that nothing makes you feel better than giving back to someone. So put this in your pocket of tricks for the year: Offer your partner a backrub out of the blue. Give your daughter a foot rub when she's watching TV. Over at your best friend's house and she's stressed? Offer her a nice massage.
Have a happy, happy New Year Gorgeous....