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Why I'm Not Afraid to Get Older

Today is my last day before embarking on another year, another rung on the age ladder, and another 365 days under my belt. So many people I know look at birthdays as a defeat- youth that is gone and will never be reclaimed and a constant reminder that time does not stand still. However, I love birthdays. Mine, yours, the local postal worker- it doesn't matter. It's one day a year where the world wants to celebrate with you that you exist at all. You get to be special, do whatever you want, and there is generally cake involved (my choice for the past 20 years has been strawberry shortcake with homemeade biscuits). So what's the big deal about getting older?

Working in the health field I often hear the phrase "age-related illnesses". To this I call BS. I don't believe that anything happens just because you get old- that doesn't make sense. There is SOMETHING causing it to happen. A good part of why I love science and medicine is because it helps to answer a lot of the questions of "why". Why does one person smoke, drink, never exercise, and yet get to enjoy their 100th birthday party while another vegetarian athlete drops dead two days after finishing a marathon? Well, health is part what you are given and part what you do. There is a great saying that states "genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger". So true. Some people have great genes and it's very hard for them to mess up enough for their body to fall out of balance, while other people are at a genetic disadvantage and the slightest indiscretion will cause them to spiral out of control health-wise.

So why am I looking forward to tomorrow and not wallowing over the fact that I'm another year older? Well, because I know so much more now than I did a year ago about health and genetics and helping people feel better. By constantly learning and incorporating this knowledge into my practice and into my lifestyle, I feel better every year. I run faster, I sleep better, I feel more vibrant. I read an article a when in my 20s that had done a survey on women at ages 20, 30, 40, and 50. Guess which age reported feeling the most beautiful, healthy, and self-confident? 40! These women knew their body, knew what to do to feel good, and understood that health isn't about waist size. I love that.

The past 5 years have changed my body a LOT. I've become a mother twice over and have all the stretch marks and trouble spots to prove it. My once stellar metabolism seems to have gone the same way as all the socks that never make it out of the dryer. My ribcage is bigger, my old shoes no longer fit, and I suddenly see my mother staring back at me when I look into the mirror. Things just got real... But do you know what? I've got that knowledge, so bring it on! I've learned what foods make me feel great and which ones cause me to crash and burn. I've learned how my body likes to exercise and what works for me, and I know a lot better how to listen to this amazing machine when it talks to me. I know which genes are issues for me, I know what helps me overcome these defects, and I know that this next year holds a lot more oportunities for learning.

So am I excited for tomorrow? Absolutely. It's quite possibly the first day of the best year of my life.

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