I imagine most people are something like me: when they occasionally think about how quickly the years pass by, they can’t help but wish we lived in a sci-fi-esquire society where scientific advances have extended the human life span to an average of 120 years. It would simply give us so much more time to do the things we want to do!
But, barring some mind-blowing discovery in the next thirty years or so, I’m going to assume I have about that long to complete all my more active aspirations, and another ten or fifteen years after that to finish up with some bits and pieces I can do from the comfort of my wheelchair (you know, hypothetically).
Now, that’s not to say there aren’t some pretty impressive ways to keep healthy and “young.” There’s always marathon running, liposuction and, of course, botox. But let’s face it. The first takes serious effort and determination, and the others just take a lot of money and an intimate comfort with needles.
In order to ensure we’re fit and fab enough to make the most of those thirty-odd years – without having to expend a ton of extra effort, cause who has time for that? – I’ve put together a handy-dandy little list of ways we can keep young and beautiful, inside and out, for many decades to come.
(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and cannot be held responsible should you develop wrinkles in the next few years despite following each of these recommendations to the letter!)
1. Eat all your veggies
I know, I know – I sound like your mother. But honestly, munching on your carrots, even if they’re served up alongside a hefty portion of fettuccine alfredo baked with cheese, can make a real difference. Not only might you live longer due to the simple fact that you regularly consume the nutrients necessary for said living, but you’ll also feel more invigorated and clear-headed, all the better for living that lengthy life to the utmost!
2. Get outside
Fresh air clears away the cobwebs in your chest and head, puts a bit of colour in your cheeks, and exposes you to the wondrous natural sights inherent in every square foot of this great planet. Even if your walks take you nowhere near forests or oceans, spend your outings taking note of the nest-building birds in the trees, the busy busy ants on the road, and the brilliant palette of the weeds growing up through the sidewalk cracks.
It takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. Yeah, blah blah, we’ve all heard that before. But not only is it easier on your face if you turn that frown upside down, just the physical act of smiling seems to do something to our insides. However downright cruddy I’m feeling, if I tack on a smile – into the mirror, at the cashier, or toward a passerby on the street – it makes whatever was wrong seem a bit less ugh, and it often results in a pay-it-forward situation.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff
This one kind of goes hand in hand with number three. There are so many things in this world, in our lives, about which we can legitimately feel stressed: problems at work, the looming question of whether you can afford rent this month, that fight with your sister that you still haven’t properly talked out. So let’s make a pact to save our worry and anxiety for these bigger issues, and just take the little things – that new scratch on your cell phone, the not-quite-right flavour of your latte, and whether or not that cute girl will call you back – in stride until/unless they become something bigger.
5. Keep learning
It’s one of those habits they tell us will help prevent dementia in old age, but even if that’s not a give-in, shouldn’t we want to keep learning new things for as long as we can? You don’t have to enroll in some costly class to do it, either! Download a free language app, or scour Pinterest for a good knitting how-to; watch a few Ted Talks, or listen to a fun and informative podcast (as someone relatively new to the medium, might I suggest this one?). Even striking up a conversation with a stranger in the coffee shop queue could imbue you with some unexpected smarts. Basically, keep one part of your mind tuned to new learning opportunities at every turn.
6. Be childish
Please don’t throw a tantrum at Walmart next time your significant other suggests maybe you don’t really need another pair of shoes. But please do dance in the aisles when your favourite song starts playing, and laugh hysterically (without covering your mouth) at the next really good joke you hear. Go ahead and giggle at that Fuddruckers sign that’s missing a few significant letters, and feel free to send your best friend giddy texts about your latest crush. Don’t let propriety quell your sense of fun. Redefine the phrase “act your age.” If nothing else, at least a good, long laugh will tone your abs.
7. Stop counting the days
Since we often hear that watching the minutes tick by makes time crawl, it stands to reason that keeping close track of every day, noting in painstaking detail that slow drudge toward death, would lengthen our perceived time on this earth.
But the simple fact is, by paying such dedicated attention to the looming end of your life is a really good way to miss all the bits and pieces that make life “worth living.” And when we feel like living, when we feel inspired by the beauty and promise all around us, and seek to soak it up and add to it in every possible way, we’re bound to find ourselves happier which, let’s face it, is the running theme throughout all these points.
Live life to the fullest, every day you have, whether that amounts to four or fourteen hundred. Smile, be kind, and have fun, and as a result, you might just find you have more days in which to do those things than you ever imagined you would.