Focus on the Journey
I’m guilty of having a closed mind when it comes to aging. Usually when the word comes up in conversation or appears in a daily Facebook scroll, I think of only one thing: being old.
I tend to have the same viewpoint for people my age—I turned 22 a few months ago. As with many age groups, millennials are often clumped together into a handful of stereotypes to describe them: narcissistic, whiny and ungrateful to name a few. I know this is not the best way to look at aging, or any one topic for that matter. As with anything, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of perspectives to choose from. But often, we are creatures of habit and tend to go with the perspective that we know best.
However, life always seems to throw me a curveball to snap me out of my routines. Recently, a co-worker of mine tagged me and a few others in a video on Facebook. I usually hate being tagged in videos, so initially, I ignored it. But then, one of my cousins liked the video, so I figured I might as well watch it. I’m so glad that I did.
The video highlighted a woman named Lyn Slater, a 64-year old “accidental” fashion blogger.
Slater talked in the video about how she didn’t think about aging and its limits to what she likes in life. She doesn’t let her age dictate how she lives her life, whether that is how she dresses or what she does in her spare time. I mean seriously, when you think of a fashion blogger, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t necessarily a woman over 60.
I find that confidence and sense of self so…intoxicating. Personally, I have struggled with being confident for my whole life. It started when I was younger as a mere shyness, and then gradually blossomed into not being assertive from my teens onward.
Part of me wants to think that Lyn’s confidence is something that only comes with age. It’s a quality that one has to work on throughout life, through ups and downs and all of the experiences that one accrues over time. But there are people my age (early twenties) who possess that same assertive and confident air.
So maybe age has nothing to do with it.
I recently went on a work trip to the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando. We were there for four days, promoting She’s It with the attendees in Florida. It was strenuous work, physically and mentally. On our second-to-last night there, my co-workers and I went to the hotel bar to unwind, listen to some music and eat some (not fast) food. While sitting at the bar, I started talking to this couple who was vacationing from Canada.
Eugene and Susan were retired and spending their free time traveling the world. They told me about their experiences and eased my fears about flying (this trip was my first time doing so). I told them I too wanted to travel the world, but felt scared—not just of flying, but of the unknown quality of it all.
I’m not a very spontaneous person. I find comfort in planning and having a certain level of control over things in my life.
“You’re so young!”, they told me. “Go out there and live your life. You have so much to look forward to.” A few moments later, my co-worker got up to sing karaoke. Eugene and Susan (and the two margaritas I just drank) gave me the push I needed to get up in front of that restaurant and support my friend as she sang—in the form of playing the tambourine.
My rhythm may have been questionable, but for a few minutes I felt like how Lyn Slater must feel all the time—confident. It was a truly amazing moment. I didn’t need to age 50 years to gain that confidence either. The advice that my Canadian confidants bestowed on me was something that I’ll always hold close to my heart. Confidence doesn’t have an age limit.
I’m not sure where my life will take me. The future is unknown, and that uncertainty is slowly starting to become fine with me. But I am certain that I will not fear aging from this point on. My journey will be uniquely me.