Growing up as a young woman in America, I was bombarded by every form of media trying to convince me that the only way to age was to stay as young as possible.

Buy this cream to keep your youthful skin.

Do these exercises to keep the body of a twenty-something.

I wasn’t alone. We all bought into it.

We were young. We were impressionable. And we didn’t have a lot of role models that aged gracefully.

Hollywood loved to showcase men aging well. Greying at the temples was acceptable.

Yet the older and more distinguished men got, the more youthful their female counterparts became. Men could move into their thirties, forties, and fifties without issue. The females were forever twenty-one.

So, of course, I bought into it hook, line, and sinker.

I’d spend an hour every morning applying my makeup so it was just so. I’d wash and dry, curl and tease my long blonde hair to add body and style. I’d mousse, gel, and spray my hair so it wouldn’t budge an inch throughout the day. Every item of clothing was selected to match.

And as I married and brought a child into this world, my desire to create the perfect appearance continued to change. I still wanted it all, but I didn’t have the time. I’d get up earlier to fit everything in. Until I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Who declared these laws of aging? Who said women don’t get better as they move forward into their thirties, forties, fifties and beyond?

I knew things had to change. So I decided to do something about it.

I Am The Best Age Of My Life

This one sentence has become the cornerstone of my life.

Every single thing I’ve ever done has brought me to this exact moment in time. What I learned from my parents. What I learned in school. What I learned from starting my own business. What I’ve learned from failing. What I’ve learned from raising a child. What I’ve learned from working and thinking and playing, every single day.

No one else on earth has ever experienced life in quite the same way. That’s what gives me my unique edge. That’s what made me start my own business. That’s what’s made me want to travel the world. That’s what’s made me want to write.

I’ve loved writing forever. I have diaries from when I was little.

But it all changed when we sold our forever home and decided to slow travel for a bit. As a part of the move, I sold off a portion of my business. That gave me free time to ask: What’s next? I’d already authored more than a dozen nonfiction books, and I knew I wanted to continue with that.

My dreams expanded. They included nonfiction and fiction. I saw stories in my head that I knew I wanted to get down on paper. I wanted to share them with the world.

So I made it my priority. I write every day. I search for the best in this business, doing exactly what I choose to do. I’ve established my mentors. I’ve joined a mentorship program. I learn. I create.

Will I change tomorrow? Yep. Will I be different next year? Of course. Will I want the same things on my sixtieth birthday? Who knows? But I know each and every thing I learn right now will make me into the wonderful person I’m about to become.

Become Self Made

Think you can’t do “it” because you’ve reached a certain age? Think reaching midlife means you’ve entered a point of no return?

Nely Galan says it well in her book Self Made:

What I see happening out there is the beginning of a genuine revolutionary shift. We are in the era of fully empowered women in the do-it-yourself economy. There are no barriers to entry. The tools of instant entrepreneurship and self-reliance are all around us, and most of them are simple to use and easy to afford. Technology, social media, and the non-centralized shared economy have made it easier than ever to start a business. A new women’s movement is rising around financial self-reliance and ownership, because there is no true empowerment as a woman until you have your own money.

I didn’t start my own business all those years ago because I had role models to show me how to do it. I did it all myself. Every member of my family, every friend I hung out with told me it was insane to forgo the security of a job and blaze a path on my own. Several businesses later, I’ll have to disagree.

There is no better time to blaze your own trail. You can create something BIG with little more than a dream. You can educate yourself on ANYTHING with just a simple search.

Financial Success Is Up To Me

How many times have you said: “The economy sucks.” Or “I have to stick with this job because I can’t lower myself into something better.”

I learned at the tender age of twenty-eight that life is too short. When my father passed away at fifty-four, my twenty-eight-year-old self was shocked into that reality. My husband had already been forced out of three positions in three years. Yep, the stress was building.

So we took a step back and decided to change our lives forever. We learned to live on one income so we could put the rest towards growing a business. And it made all the difference.

Now I can’t say we’ve been smart about every decision. But overall, I realize the only way to take control over my financial success is if I do it myself. Jobs might not be there. Social security will most definitely not be there. Relying on one pension from your company may also be an unwise decision.

That’s why the new economy – the gig economy – is growing so large. And there’s no better time than right now for women in their forties, fifties, and sixties to become the best they can be.

My Health Is Up To Me

I’ve been on a quest for good health since my father passed away at fifty-four.

Soon after his death, I picked up my very first book that linked food and heart disease. And suddenly the lights went on. As Hippocrates said:

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

From that moment on, I made deliberate choices about my food intake and my lifestyle. When my daughter declared herself vegetarian at three, my quest for good nutrition morphed and changed. I followed in her vegetarian footsteps a few years later.

Today I call myself a “lazy” vegan. I am exclusively plant-based at home. If I go out with friends, I order as best I can. If cheese happens to be in my food choice, I won’t complain. It’s very difficult to avoid cheese in the average American restaurant.

I’ve been called a hippie. I’ve been teased about my food choices. I’ve lost relationships, been screamed at, made fun of, and everything in between, just because of my decision to move to a plant-based diet.

I make no judgment being vegan. I follow a plant-based diet because I love feeling and looking my best. I research everything to ensure I’m on track to be the best I can be at every age. And I’m more than happy sharing my results. But I’ll never judge or push my ideas on you if you don’t want to hear. It’s right for me. So of course, I talk about it right here on my blog.

Health is a journey. It’s something you control every day with your choices. Couch potato or three-mile hike? A bag of chips or a kale salad? My goal is to be just as healthy at 100 as I am today.

With that in mind, the choices are always easy.

Stretch Every Day

There are many ways to be creative.

For me, it starts with writing. I’ve been writing for years. I’ve published more than a dozen business books. I self-published a coffee table book, working with resources in Singapore. I wrote for the Denver Business Journal. I’ve written articles for many different publications.

I’m writing nonfiction for women who are ready to get unstuck.

Then I added another level to my portfolio when I dove into romance.

I’m currently looking at writing screenplays, as well as honing my skills on nonfiction.

I love to write. But I never stick with one concept and write it to death. I look for things from every angle. I do my research and see how to make it better. I join masterminds to make sure I’m on track to write well. I read everything I can about making my skills even better.

And that’s just one area of my life. I stretch every day in some new way.

Ask me to go on a hike I’ve never been on before? I’ll be there.

Allow me to drive or fly to another part of the world? I’ll have my bags packed in a few minutes.

I’m constantly looking for new groups to join, new classes to take, new things to learn. Because it helps me stretch in new ways.

Was I always like this? Definitely not. Once upon a time, I was a perfectionist. But the cure for that is to do it anyway.

Who cares if someone laughs? Who cares if someone else thinks you’re too old/young/rich/poor/skilled/unskilled/insert your adjective here.

Do it anyway.

These are the proaging techniques I’m practicing right now. I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

Of course, tomorrow may change everything. I’ll have to wait and see.

It’s one day at a time. Living the life I’m supposed to be living.

How about you?