Americans are culturally unique in that the first question they often ask in conversation is what you do. The second is where you live. And the third, if they dare, is your age.

We look at folks all day long and assess based on a number of factors, what we think their age to be. Why do we want to know age? Because we think that by knowing their age, we immediately know things about the person. Immediately we judge whether or not, they LOOK the age they say they are. After that, we judge their capacity to do countless things.

I agree that age shouldn’t matter, at least in most things, but it does. Fighting age is a losing war; but embracing age, gently holding it and molding it, is more than possible. It is youth rendering. I believe in aging– in youthful aging.

Recently, I had a “Beyoncé moment.” I boldly posted a photo on Facebook with me wearing a two piece bathing suit, captioning it with the words of Beyoncé, I Woke Up Like This! I did it because I wanted to make a statement about what I think my age could and should look like and just as importantly, feel like!

Here are some keys to youthful aging:

1. Move your body.

It doesn’t have to be high impact aerobics or running marathons. My morning routine consists of a fifteen to twenty minute exercise called the Eight Pieces of Brocade. I learned it from a martial arts instructor who taught it to me based on the recommendation of my doctor. You don’t have to learn this specific exercise but you must do something.  You can simply dance to a song you like for the same amount of time. I follow this with a morning walk of usually an hour. I get up for this. It pays off. Stress is relieved, the mind is cleared, and your muscles thank you.

2. Limit your television watching. You must work those brain cells too.  Read a book or do something that stimulates you intellectually. Keep a journal. Notice and write down the things that make you feel more vivacious. And do more of those things!

3. I do not diet. I eat what I want. But, what I want is what I know is good for my body. My evening meal is lighter than lunch. I eat sensibly. Drink lots of water.

4. Enhance your best physical feature. I love France for this, which is where I have a home. Here, a woman will show her best feature regardless of her age. If she has nice legs she will show them, even if she be ninety years of age. It used to be that women were told that long hair after a certain age was aging. That is not true. Find a style that makes you look good and feel attractive. Period.

5. My circle of friends spans all ages. My mind is open. I have friendships with people from twenty to one hundred plus years of age finding wisdom in those younger and older than I. I belong to professional groups whose members are diverse. Find your tribe.

6. You are passionate about something. We all are. Develop that passion and share it with the world. After all, experience counts and that is something no one can take away. It will cause you to smile. And smiling makes you look and feel younger.

7. Have sex. I believe that our sexual energy does not diminish as much as we suppress it. After a certain age we may feel undesireable because we are not represented in the mainsteam. It’s time to reclaim our position. The functioning of our sexual organs does change but we can  be ever so creative.

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