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I had to actually do the math because I’m at that age when I constantly slip into denial. Am I 55, or 56—surely not 57? But yep, I’m going to be 57 on June 5, and, while there was a time not so long ago that I worried I wouldn’t reach 55, I’m feeling better than ever, and I have to say it’s because of the way I am eating and living. For the first time in my life, I’m taking care of myself—I mean really taking care of myself. I am eating right, maybe not exercising quite as much as I should, but exercising nonetheless. I’m also trying to make sure I maintain a life balance, which is something I sucked at previously. But here we are, with days to go, and I’ve learned a few things by the eve of my 57thbirthday (metaphorically speaking). I’d like to share them, particularly for the writer community, because I think so often lately, the trend is to speed up, and do more. These are the things I wish I could have told my younger self:

  • Slow down, you will not lay on your death bed and wish you wrote one more book. Have a life outside of work.
  • Stop eating meat. Right now. I mean it.
  • Stop eating dairy; it’s shitty for you and DOES NOT do a body good.
  • Exercise more and stop working in weird positions; you’re not 10 and someday you’re going to pay for that.
  • Stay away from ibuprofen; your gut will thank you.
  • Establish boundaries and keep them.
  • Only write what you love.
  • Teach your children more Spanish; stop answering your mom in English when she speaks to you in Spanish.
  • You don’t sing like a frog and you’re not taking ugly pills (thanks, Dad!)
  • Did I mention work-life balance? Yeah, pay attention to that.
  • Age is just a number.
  • Be like a cat: live in the moment, get the hell away if something threatens you, or even annoys you, and take joy in the smallest things… yep, even that tiny ant crawling across the floor. Fascinating little creature.
  • True friends will always be there and will never judge you. Don’t waste time worrying about what people think.
  • Do the laundry (and all those other tasks). Procrastination will put worry lines on your brow.
  • It’s okay to be weird; embrace it.
  • It’s okay not to be the best at everything; accept it.
  • True beauty is not skin deep; it’s a soul thing.
  • If you run with dogs who have fleas, you will get fleas. (Both metaphorically and physically speaking.)
  • Someday, you will have wrinkles and gray hair, but you won’t see any of them when you look in the mirror. You are eternally 18, embrace it.
  • Fix your teeth; you’ll feel better about taking pictures.
  • Don’t just say you love someone, feel it, and show it.
  • Listen more.
  • Talk less.
  • Laugh more.
  • Love more.
  • Let go of the past.
  • Don’t worry about the future.
  • Take more time to just breathe.
  • Stop arguing. Nobody wins.
  • Eat more cacao. Chocolate is good.

That’s it! Love and peace,

 

Tanya

 

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