Once you hit 50 there’s only so much you have to work with in the fierce department. Those with inordinate style can just push forward as is. You know the ones. They own the perfect necklace from Uganda. Or the Lily Pulitzer shift dress that shows off their tennis-toned arms. Style comes in all political guises. The rest of us have to hope our 20-30 year old selves didn’t, rolling around in their young ignorance, trash our 50-year old beings. So here are a few words your 50-year old self would like to tell you.
1. Don’t diet any more. Please, please, please find a way to eat that can be sustained for years and year and years. 50-60 years. Because your metabolism will slow down. And what you eat now will make you put on weight later. You don’t want to be too heavy because your joints will hurt and your doctor will yell at you. So find a way to eat well. This will include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and chocolate. It will include very little fast food. Just do it. Don’t try to lose weight. Just find a way to eat well.
2. Appreciate your skin and your flesh and your hair because they will change. Put lovely-smelling unguents on them and hope for all that is promised. Spend only as much money as you are comfortable with.
3. Move around often. Don’t start running marathons unless you like them. They may wreck your knees anyway. Fidget. Take the stairs. Tap your feet. Walk to the market. 30 minutes a day of brisk walking ought to keep your body from disintegrating any faster than it will of its own accord.
4. Wear sunscreen. Not just at the beach. Or by the pool. Or in the desert. All the time. If you drive a car, especially wear it on the left side of your face. On your left hand. When I look in the mirror I see liplines and spots on the left side that I don’t have on the right side. Car damage. Wear sunscreen on your neck too. Amazingly, your neck isn’t as invisible to everyone else as it is to you.
5. Wear lots of tight pants and teeter around in high heels. Do it now. Go to bars full of people and dance where everyone can see you. Later in life you either will think it’s a really stupid idea and not worth the discomfort and so will have missed your chance, or you will regret not doing it and you will have to try it and you will wander around looking like you don’t know you are 50. You don’t want to wander around looking like you haven’t figured out your age. If you want to look like you like being 50, and think it’s fierce, all the better. But clueless is rarely a good look.
6. Follow fads. Dress as far on the edge as you are comfortable. By the time you are 50 if you dress on the edge people will automatically assume you are either an art gallery owner or a homeless person. By the time you are 50 you will be tiring of scanning your closet. You will be tiring of scanning fashion sites and looking to reinvent yourself. Unless of course you do it for a living. Otherwise you will want to have found a style that you like and you will want to stick to it. So experiment now. Even with perfume.
7. Travel. See the world. Do whatever it takes to realize that there is no one way to do anything. That the question of absolute moral right is a tough one for which many have died unnecessarily. Open your mouth a lot. This will mean you eat many foods, kiss a lot of men or women, take deep breaths and say what you want to say. And it will means that by 50 you will be spared the closed lip look of a woman who doesn’t like what she sees. Avoid pursed lips.
You don’t want to show up at 50 with regrets. And I find I regret what I didn’t do far more than what I did. After all, there’s almost always a path out of a wrong step, or if not, a way to heal in the days that follow. Whereas you lose the moment where you do not do it forever. In that way moments have of getting lost.