I’m not sure how it happened, but I am now in my fifties. Somehow, I thought it would take a lot longer to get to this age! Some things are not so great about getting older—gray hair, hot flashes, wrinkles, gravity… I’ll stop there as I’m getting depressed. But there are some positive things about being in this stage of life. I have time to read and take naps. I don’t have to operate a taxi service any longer (and with the price of gas, that’s a bonus). I don’t have to feed everyone. And I care less about what others think of me.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self? Here are some tips that I would share with the younger version of me.
- Accept and love yourself as God made you
Quit comparing yourself to others and understand that God made you the way you are for a reason—he doesn’t make mistakes. Get counseling if you need to work through your issues. You must love yourself before you can love and nurture others.
- Tips on children
Children are a blessing and a joy, but if you have them, keep in mind that they will break your heart and scare you to death more times than you could ever imagine. And you aren’t done when they are in their twenties and beyond, as I thought would be the case. Puppies are a good lower maintenance substitute. Just sayin’.
- Slow down
Being busy is not a badge of honor. Figure out what’s important to you and say no to things that don’t fit these criteria. Chill out on the activities your kids are involved in —they probably aren’t going to be soccer stars or ballerinas. Doing so much running wears them out and wears you out, too. Finally, make sure to give yourself ten to fifteen minutes of quiet time in the morning – you’ll start your day from a centered, calm state.
- You probably can’t have it all
Focus more on relationships and less on building bank balances and climbing the career ladder. In the end, relationships are what will matter, especially your relationship with God.
- Exercise and eat right
Yay! There is one that I did consistently. As a result, I haven’t had struggles with my weight or health problems. I also think I may have gone off the deep end if I didn’t exercise because it helps me manage stress. I can even still do plyometrics (jump training), only sometimes I pee.
- Choose a partner wisely and well
Be with someone who will treat you well and takes care of your soul. Understand that it isn’t your partner’s job to fill the emptiness inside you. And you probably aren’t going to be able to change the other person – only God can do that. Don’t settle, even if you feel it’s time that you find a partner. It’s better to be single than in a difficult, unfulfilling relationship.
P.S. Also, stay out of the sun and try not to squint!