So this is 55?! (Photo taken on my 55th birthday)
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an author and a motivational speaker. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thou Shalt Not Commit Adulthood
I grew up in a time where being “old” began as young as 22. In the 1980s when most of us started working, we were out of the house! No question about it. And if you weren’t married or engaged by 25 you were considered an old maid.
But now things have changed. People are living at home well into their 30s. Marrying later and having children even later. Or having children, then marrying. Even more inspiring are the women in their 70s, 80s, and 90s who are still modeling, dancing, and doing yoga! Don’t believe me? You’ll find them all on You Tube!
Therefore what was once considered “old” has changed.
I like to believe it was my generation that started the change. Everyone was getting married in their 20s, but I decided to wait. Nowadays women in their 50s and 60s who waited have the best relationships with their husbands or long term partners, saying things like, “I married my best friend” or “I met my soul mate.” Parties we throw are integrated with men and women mixing all over the house! But I’m sure we can remember our parents’ parties, segregated with men in the living room and women in the kitchen. Bah to that!
Even those of us who don’t get Botox (I don’t!) look younger than they are thanks to cool clothes and flattering hairstyles. Generation gaps are less “gappy” because we can be friends with women of all ages. I have female friends in their 20s, 30s, and 40s (all younger) as well as older women in their 60s and 70s!
We’re also more in tune with health and spirituality than previous generations, which also helps us to age better. Being in your 50s is a great time to be alive; I LOVE it!
Much younger people have told me I’m “stylish” and I have “young energy.” I thought long and hard, why that is. Once I figured it out, I decided to make a list of Top Five Things Women Over 50 Should (or Shouldn’t) Do to Seem Younger.
Here’s what I came up with …
- Don’t Obsess Over Your Hair. I’ve noticed that the women in my own age bracket who look youngest don’t always have perfect hair. They don’t have hair that is all one color. They are more free-spirited with highlights, even with some gray peering through. They also tie their hair up in a bun, wear hats, ponytails, or braids. And they never use hairspray. I go by this too and I think this is just half the battle of having young energy.
- Don’t Obsess Over Your Weight. Over the past decade or so I’ve noticed a very sweet trend among younger women. They love each other just as they are! They tell each how beautiful they are and are oblivious to weight gain. Older women can learn a thing or two from these youngsters! I’m not saying run out and eat White Castles every day. What I am saying is don’t worry about your gut, your boobs, or your thighs. Once you reach 50, there’s no doubt that it is harder to stay at your perfect weight. So why not just embrace your weight gain? Most guys love those extra pounds anyway. Nothing says “What an old stick in the mud!” more than a woman who constantly bitches about her weight and fat-shames other women. Young women have evolved. They don’t shame each other or gossip about each other. Let’s evolve too and be friends; not beat each other up by being catty.
- Do Seek Out New Music. When people say there’s no good music around nowadays, I have to laugh. There’s a whole big wide world full of music and if you can’t find something good, maybe you just don’t like music! Instead of scrolling past things on your iPhone, why not stop at something your friend recommends? Sometimes I’ll post new music on Facebook and only one person actually listens to it. This is why you THINK there’s no good music, because you’re too damn lazy to seek it out! I’d challenge anyone on this, but haters can be so stubborn they will find something wrong with something new without giving it a chance. But trust me, if you liked Queen or The New York Dolls back in 1974, there are more than one indie band that sounds just like them. Young people groove on the retro and emulate the ground we grew up on. Don’t discount their ability to deliver!
- Do Give Compliments to Other Women. Back in the 1980s when I first started out in the workforce unfortunately people were still homophobic. I’ll never forget being nice and telling another girl her new hairstyle looked “cute.” Then she got all bent out of shape falsely assuming I was hitting on her. (Wow, how self-absorbed was that?!) Thank GODDESS times have changed! Young women of today are extremely supportive of each other and that is acceptable. They are generous with hugs and even hand-holding. Inspired by young women, I do all this with my middle-aged female friends. Why? It’s sweet, it’s fun, and it means we are warm people. We tell each other how beautiful we are and we say “I love you” to each other. Gone are the days, at least in my world, where women are at each other’s throats and giving each other the jealous green-eye. Young girls are kind and sweet. If you smile at a young girl, you’re much more likely to get a smile back than if you smile at a middle-aged woman. Ladies in my age bracket (and a little younger and a little older — you know who you are!) let’s change all that! If there’s one thing the younger generation can teach us is how to be more loving towards each other. Love, love, LOVE!
- Thou Shalt Not Commit Adulthood. Since I first became really old, at the age of 30, my motto was “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adulthood.” I continued to challenge myself, talk to younger people, do fun things, not worry what others thought about me, dress the way I liked, speak my mind, and so on. I sing. I act silly. I pose for photographs with toys and on children’s rides at amusement parks. My goal for each day is to do something fun that I could tell my grandchildren (if I had any!) This is the biggest rule of all when you want to stay young at heart!