Laugh Your Way to Lower Stress

I used to subscribe to a magazine for women of a certain age (no, it wasn’t Seventeen) but I got so tired of the monthly advice on how to prevent looking old by adopting fashion and beauty trends of younger women. This reminds me of that old cliche from childhood, “If all the other kids are jumping off the roof, would you do it too?” Only in this case, the magazine insisted that I do it in 4″ stiletto strappy sandals and false eyelashes. And that I post my status to both Facebook and LinkedIn on the way down.

The best way not to let aging get you down is to stop thinking about how old you are and get on with your life. If you let a number stop you from doing something, wearing something, or thinking something, you’re letting math win. And that’s worse than letting the terrorists win.

On Monday, I gave a presentation to the Lions Club. I showed up wearing an above-the-knees black & white polka dot skirt and orange v-neck blouse. I know Lions — they’re mostly men in their 70s, 80s and 90s and I wanted to make sure the oldest stayed awake. (Side note: I once did a presentation at a nursing home and afterward a woman came up to me and gushed, “My husband didn’t fall asleep once!” High praise indeed.)  I was the younger woman and I got a free neck massage and dozens of great laughs out of the morning.

On Wednesday, I went to a comedy show in which several of my friends were performing, including Virginia Jones from Portland. I wore jeans and a casual, yet somewhat sexy shirt. I sat with the comedians, who ranged in age from 22 to 30-something.  I was the older woman and I got lots of laughs and lots of great conversation out of the evening.

If I’d said to myself, “I’m only 50, I don’t have anything in common with 80-year old men,” I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself so much with the Lions. If I’d said, “I’m over 50, I shouldn’t be out at 11:30 at night on a Wednesday hanging with people half my age,” I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself so much at the comedy club.

I have a quote on my office wall that says, “Some people pursue happiness, others create it.” If you want to create a happy life, forget your age. Act your strappy sandal size instead.

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