50 things you need to know by 50
I am celebrating a big birthday this year - and it got me thinking about all the things I wish I knew when I was 25 - but found out the hard way - and also some lighter observations I learned along the way.
Resilience. Ultimately inner resilience will see you through life. Unfortunately it can only be acquired by getting up when you fall down. So try to remember that when times are hard, - that by getting up, moving on and not looking back, you are building the inner strength for longer term happiness.
Wear sun screen. It’s never too late. When I look at friends I can tell you does and who does not ! Over exposure to the sun dramatically ages your skin, causing lines, brown pigmentation and, can lead to skin cancer. It’s my own biggest regret that I didn’t wear sunscreen in my 20’s. My own mom started wearing Factor 50 everyday about 20 years ago, and her skin today is clear and almost line fine.
Be active. Move.
When I was growing up, my dad and I used to go for a 5 mile walk every night after dinner . We had the best chats, but it also instilled in me the love of movement. A walk cures almost everything and it also helps maintain a healthy weight. Exercise also makes you happy. Today I would trade a walk with my dogs with anything.
On this topic - health is wealth and prevention is better than any cure. So an overall healthy lifestyle - without going bonkers - or over doing it - is the best idea.
Almond milk and quinoa are fads. Most people are not allergic to dairy or gluten. Products that artificially reduce fat (by using fillers) or add artificial sweeteners are not a good idea (I actually think they mess up the way your body breaks down food). I have never had a problem with my weight. Most of it is my ‘genes’ but I also avoid processed food where possible and always eat a breakfast and a home made dinner.
Invest in good skin care. There is a difference between the €2.99 cream and the €100 cream - one works and the other doesn’t. I have used products such as Genifique, Prevage, Caudine with noticeable results. Recently I have started on Skinceuticals and Retin A (in moderation and with sun block)
Sleeves. In my opinion, even if you are a gym bunny, once you are over 40 sleeves are more elegant and flattering. This doesn’t mean you have to wear a full sleeve (although I don’t like capped sleeves) - short sleeves or tailored shirts and blouses always work.
Shapewear! It works wonders. (There are lots of options and it is comfortable to wear - look up Atir - it is an Irish brand too)
Don’t start dressing for your age - dress for how you feel.
Defining your own personal style is important at every age. As the decades roll in, you don’t need to re invent yourself - just re-look at yourself. Most importantly you need to feel comfortable in yourself without giving up on yourself. So look to real women you admire and steal their style! I have always been inspired by my friends style - and then adapt it to my own life.
Your body shape changes as you age, particularly in your 40’s and the quality of the material, drape and the cut really matters. So it’s worth investing in some good wardrobe basics, and some statement / key pieces (I have written about this in an earlier article) and then mixing it with high street to keep your look up to date.
Posture. Hold your head high (and your shoulders back !). Your posture is an important part of your overall body language and a silent communicator of how you perceive yourself. Be aware of how you walk, sit, stand. It’s never too late to correct posture and practices such as pilates / yoga, as well as good footwear, can make a real difference.
Try to see life in context. When anything enormous happens - breathe in and remain calm. The simple action of breathing deeply will lessen anxiety and give you a moment to think. I am personally allergic to drama. It probably comes from something in my childhood, but when anyone raises their voice, or gets over dramatic, I actually feel catatonic. However, overall, in my own life, keeping things calm has been an advantage, although the odd scream on a beach will make you feel better.
There is a God - just find your own (and don’t let it be money!).
Life is not always good, in fact, it is mostly very challenging. It’s important to embrace the good moments and know that the other times will pass.
You change a lot between 20 and 30, 40 and 50, both physically and in your mind. You have the power to control both - the latter more than the former.
On a happier note, Botox works.
Red lipstick is always a good idea.
In my experience, having been every shade, blondes have more fun, brunettes definitely look more elegant and red heads are cool. Natural grey also looks great. Whatever colour you are - condition it and throw out the GHD.
Everything you stick on - has a consequence - so it is up to you to decide if it is worth it ! So gel nails, lash extensions, hair bonds - all have downsides - it is just a matter of risk assessment and moderation!
Know your BMI and try to stay within it.
Forgive yourself (when you don’t and in general)!
Despite technology, once you are over 45, it is now probably a better idea to aspire to being a granny than a mommy.
Although experience is everything, it is not widely valued in today’s business world. However, this doesn’t mean as you age, you can’t dream as big as you did when you were 20. Never stop believing! (As my very wise mom said to me in one very low moment - "the last thing inside Pandora’s box was hope”).
Ignore social media at your peril. It’s important and ultimately it is just another form of communication - if a very powerful one. On the plus side, it reflects the views of everyday people and their lives, on the negative side - it is full of ‘false’ news, with harmful consequences and can be addictive.
Friends are so very important. Real ones go the distance.
Never look back. Learn - but don’t dwell on it.
It’s very hard to get a business bank loan when you are hovering 50! Despite the ads, banks only invest in people they believe they can get their money back from (which is kind of obvious). So you can be as brave as you want, but it’s a numbers game. So gamble in your 20’s and 30’s. If you are going to take risks after this - think it through !
Question everything - EVERYTHING. Then do your own homework and make up your own mind.
Keep writing using a pen or pencil. Maybe send someone a birthday card, or write them a letter. Use it or lose it.
Get a dog or a cat. Cute fluffy ones are best for cuddling when everything is upside down. Just make sure you look after it ! If you can’t mind a dog, get a goldfish. It’s good to engage and love another species. Fact.
Stop feeling emotional fear. (Obviously life threatening fear is different). I have worked with so many outwardly successful people - who struggle with self doubt and fear. Behind the scenes, they sweat, cry and actually throw up - but they work to over come it to be who they know they can be. So can you.
Music is everything.
What you wear matters.
Chocolate and coffee make you perkier and wine makes you happier, if only momentarily. Oysters are over rated !
Tea is a conversation opener.
Religion and politics can be closers.
Don’t judge a book by its cover - the same applies to people.
Learn to say NO
and to say Yes.
Trust your gut. Your intuition is normally right.
Fashion goes in circles. What’s out will eventually be in - but it still doesn’t mean it will suit you!
Everyone is different.
But strangely we often want the same things.
Talk. TALK. Talk.
Middle age means you can feel invisible sometimes
and also like you have heard it all before.
You have heard it before. The trick is to try and look interested.
Remember how to have FUN. Giggle. Laugh.
Do it today. What are you waiting for?
Our next Personal Style Masterclass is dedicated to the fashion, beauty and lifestyle needs of women over 40. Hosted by myself, along with leading experts in beauty, style, fitness, it will be an engaging and practical afternoon full of easy to follow advice on how to adapt and re invent your own style for each decade of your life. It's on Sunday 2nd of September in the Kingsley Hotel, Cork - so book your EARLY BIRD TICKET NOW to avoid disappointment.
Tickets available from this website
and from Eventbrite