One Saturday last fall, my oldest son and I were browsing at a local art’s festival. Hunter was asking a few questions about a painting of a cat he wanted and the artist, an older man, made the comment that I couldn’t possibly be his mother. He said that there was no way I was old enough to have a kid Hunter’s age because I could not possibly be older than 16. Now folks, I’ve been mistaken for 19 numerous times. I have been assumed to be my childrens’ nanny upon countless occasions. But 16? Less than half my real age? This was a new thing for me. I doubt most of my well-into-their-30s peers have been mistaken for a high schooler too often in the past decade so I figure that I must hold the secret to youth. I have taken the time to compile a list of tips (in no particular order) for how to remain young. Utilize this list and maybe you, too, will be mistaken for 16 soon. Gross, right? It’s a new year and apparently I have all of the answers. So if “Regaining your youth” is one of your goals for 2013, looks like you are in luck.
16. Eat Healthy Foods. The greatest way to remain young is to remain healthy, right? And how better to do that than to fill your plates with delicious foods that are good for you. Some of my favorite healthy foods are pomegranate, coconut oil, kale, ghee, and kim chee. This doesn’t mean you can never treat yourself. I eat plenty of chocolate. In fact, we run a chocolate business called Ridiculous Chocolate and trust me, I nibble my fair share and then some. But you will never catch me eating a Snickers bar. I like to keep all of my food clean, especially my treats!
15. Take Vitamins. I take targeted supplements every day. Without them, I do okay. But I don’t want to do okay. I want to feel great. Mostly so that I can keep up with the three kids running around my house all day every day. Some of the supplements I take that I think everyone should take include a good quality multivitamin, high doses of Vitamin D, and an adrenal supplement.
14. Avoid the News. I know that some children were brutally shot and killed on December 14th but I could not tell you much more than that. I learned after September 11th that watching the news was toxic. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s just that watching the news and digesting all of that sludge is really toxic to my body, mind, and spirit. So I skip it. And I pray. I find it’s the only way that my super intuitive and empathetic self can survive in this ridiculous world.
13. Watch kids’ tv and comedy. That’s right. While you are avoiding the news, tune in to some stuff that will make you laugh. Now, what makes you laugh may not be the same things that make ME laugh but that is not important. I happen to crack up over “iCarly”, “Parks and Recreation”, “30 Rock”, and “Community”. You may like to laugh at other things. And that’s okay. What is important is that you laugh. And take a little time off from thinking so hard.
12. Keep up with viral videos. No self-respecting adult would know anything about “The Annoying Orange” or Glozell‘s crazy challenges, right? Wrong. Funny stuff is not just found on television and movies these days, folks. Funny stuff is on the internets too. And laughing keeps you young. Here is one of our favorite viral videos:
11. Pay attention to pop music. I listen to Top 40 radio. There are some songs that are currently popular which make me extremely happy every time I hear them. Such songs include “Call Me Maybe“, “Home“, “Some Nights“, and above all, “Gangnam Style“. No, I do not find these songs to be annoying. Or lacking in real music. Or lacking in depth. They are happy happy songs which bring a smile to my face, a warm feeling to my heart, and often times, they get my feet to dancin’. They are fun songs. And fun is important. It keeps you young. I swear it really does. Just see for yourself.
10. Get a piercing. But only if you truly want one. I remember telling my parents that I wanted my nose pierced when I was 16. My dad said no. I never stopped wanting a nose ring. When I was 29, I finally broke down and got that darned nose ring. Much to my husband’s dismay. According to him, with a nose piercing, I am “hideous to look at”. But life is short and it was something that I had wanted for half of my life. So, I had to do it. I just had to. And I love it. So much.
9. Cool shoes. If you want to be mistaken for a teenager, the best shoes to sport are Converse. I could say, today, that Toms are a popular young person shoe but that shoe may not be popular next year so I will not advise that one purchase that brand if you want your youthful look to last longer than a few months or years. I personally only like to buy new shoes ever 15 or so years it seems. However, Converse sneakers are always in style. And they always scream, “Hey, I’m a hip young person.” Even if the person wearing them is 60 they are automatically scoring cool points because of their shoes. And cool=young, right? I’ve been wearing Chucks since high school (and would have worn them sooner but I didn’t have the money to buy them). They are my dress up shoes. They are what I usually wear on my feet to church. Yeah. That. And look, you can design your own Converse now!
8. Long hair. Now that I’ve stopped coloring my hair, I’ve found that the best way to make my hair look young is to wear it long. No short mom cuts for me. Instead I’m sporting an untreated, unwashed, unbrushed mop of mousy brown strands that reach my lower back. But darn it, my hair makes me look young. So yay?
7. Clothing. Typically I’m wearing my t-shirts (most recently I rotate between my B-52’s shirt and my “Big Bang Theory” shirt) and long skirts. You will not find me in heels, panty hose, dress slacks, or anything that needs ironing or dry cleaning. I used some of my Christmas money to buy a pair of orange cords and a Doctor Who shirt. People automatically assume I’m in high school or college simply because of my wardrobe. So I guess it’s working out for me. 😉
6. Skip the makeup. I don’t wear it. Ever. I have some tinted lip glosses but otherwise, the only time I’ve worn makeup since my wedding was when I was in a play recently. I don’t even own the stuff. Not only does the lack of makeup make me look young but it contributes to my continuing to look young.
5. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. My mom never took care of her skin and she smoked so she didn’t look 16 when she was 35. I knew I didn’t want to be like her when I grew up (as in, I want to live longer than 57 years and be healthy mentally and physically while I am here). Because I wanted to avoid her fate, I started looking for guidance from others at a really early age. At 13, I started to worship Kate Pierson and I would read anything that was written about her. I learned that she enjoyed green tea and was a vegetarian (she isn’t anymore, for the record), so I embraced those types of habits. I learned about skin care from two different places… a fictional drag queen and an older lady from the health food store. In the film “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar”, Patrick Swayze’s character tells his young female friend that she must, “moisturize, moisturize, moisturize”. From that day on, I did. And when I was 28 and I went into the health food store to find a new, all natural moisturizer, the lady behind the counter who had lovely skin told me to use jojoba oil. So I did. And I still do. But I mix it up. I have an organic night cream that I use a couple times a week. I use coconut oil a lot. And occasionally I have vitamin E oil on hand as well. I guess my “beauty products” are working nicely because people comment on my skin all of the time.
4. Act Crazy. Sometimes it’s important to do crazy things, even though you are old. I’m not talking about getting drunk and driving around. Or dropping acid. What I’m talking about it occasionally taking that extra money that was given to you for Christmas and splurge on some orange cords and a Doctor Who shirt you’ve been eyeballing (yes, I already mentioned this…it was just that exciting for me). Or walking through the mall talking like Lumpy Space Princess with your children. Or backstage at the theater where you and your son are doing a play busting out in some Gangnam Style or telling your story about going to Honey Boo Boo’s house. Most of us have to act like a grown up way too often. It’s good for your mental health to just let down your guard and act a fool once in a while. Or in my case, several times a day.
3. Keep Creating (or start creating). We are all artists. God made us in His image and since He was the most amazing artist of all, we are all artists. We are all creating things, even if we don’t realize that it’s art. If you were an artist back when you were young, you are still an artist. And it’s never too late to start learning new skills. Whatever you want to do, whatever you feel like making, it’s okay! That’s up to you. But you have a responsibility to keep creating whatever it is that God gave you the ability to create. For me, it’s writing, acting, and hopefully comedy. I’m currently working on stand up and a play. And I’m about to interview for my very first talent agent. I’m not playing around! I’m also really creative in the kitchen and so food is a part of my art. There is no wrong way to make or do art. Just make sure you are doing it.
2. Exercise. Now, I must admit that right now, currently, this week, exercise has lost in the battle for my attention. I try. I really do. But when I am exercising, you won’t find me doing any workouts that I consider to be boring or hard. I stick with what I think is fun. Dancing and running. Yoga and “Classical Stretch”. Walking in the neighborhood. That’s about it. Find some exercise you like and try to stick with it. Exercise a lot. And then take breaks if you want. But always go back to it. And I think that I *may* be hooked on hooping. That would be a good thing.
1. Have fun. The most important item on this list is FUN. I cannot stress this enough. I strive to make sure that my life is filled with fun. I enthusiastically embrace fandoms such as “Doctor Who” and “The Big Bang Theory”. I watch funny movies and tv shows, I read funny books, I write comedy, I go out with my girl friends, I do improv, I do theater, I hang out with my kids and act like an idiot with them daily… I am constantly having a blast. And I think it’s the fun that is primarily responsible for keeping me young.
Now that you know my 16 secrets for looking 16 at 35, please share your secrets for youth. What do you do that helps you stay young?