If you had told me beforehand that I would gain important insights on well-aging on my latest trip and would feel compelled to share them with you on here, I would not have believed you.
You might have seen that a little while ago my husband and I went on a mini-break without the children. One week just the two of us, in an all-inclusive hotel in sunny Tenerife. (More info: My in-flight travel skincare routine)
All inclusive is not something we have ever done before as a couple, mainly because it is really expensive if you are a family of four (and doesn’t add up if out of that 4, 3 don’t drink any alcohol either), because the thought of being subject to “animation” makes me want to run for the hills and lastly because it is not the kind of travel where you get a feeling for the country and culture you are visiting – no, theme shows in the hotel lobby don’t count! – and that cultural experience is why I at least tend to pack my bags.
Like most of you as well though we had a really stressful 1.5 years, were tired and overworked and when due to ongoing travel restrictions our planned New York trip didn’t happen, we had to come up with a last minute replacement. Because if you have a week kids-free and off-work, you don’t let that go to waste. (More info: How 2020 has changed me – Personal Update)
I expected time to sleep, time to read and gaining some weight, and I got all this. What I did not expect though was how much I learned about aging well beyond the obvious skincare we do discuss in length on here.
What happened that got me thinking
We were only two days into our trip when my husband, usually oblivious to any changes in my appearance – I mean, I doubt he would notice if I came home wearing a red pixi cut – commented on how well and radiant I looked.
I had not changed my skincare, my makeup or anything else at that point. The only thing that had changed was that for the first time in I don’t know when, I felt completely rested and relaxed. There had been two nights where I slept eleven hours, four meals I had taken my time eating and picking the foods I enjoyed, two days reading and not worrying about anything related to my day job or my YouTube channel, no mails to check, no videos to edit or drafts to write. Just pure relaxation. And boy did THAT show in my skin. But not only there, I suddenly realized that my shoulders weren’t tight, my back wasn’t hurting, my thoughts weren’t racing and the constant pressure-that-almost-is-a-headache was gone. (More info: What I packed for Tenerife – Skin and Hair care)
Now I can see you roll your eyes through the screen – Doctor Anne, is THIS the big realization you drag us in front of the screen for? When you are relaxed, you look and feel better? That is not news!
You are right my friend, it is not. But if you, in all honesty, take a moment to reflect on when the last time was you didn’t just know that in the back of your head, but actually lived by it, consciously implemented it into your daily life and then tell me that date in the comments below, I bet there are quite a few that, just like me, rather purchase a new exfoliant than make sure they get a good nights sleep.
Why well aging is important for me beyond my looks
Well-aging, which is a beautiful term, isn’t all about the looks. In fact, the amount of wrinkles and hyperpigmentation on our face should matter less than the fact whether or not we age in a way that allows us to stay active while we get older. Most people work until well in their 60s, and even though I am hoping to be able to retire earlier and travel the world, chances are I will be in my 50s when that happens *fingers crossed*, and when that day comes I don’t want to be held back by health issues that prevent me from doing what I want to do.
When I look around me, I see people that age that are energetic, vital, in the prime of their life. And I see people that are the opposite, barely able to walk a few kilometers or get up a flight of stairs. And the foundation for this is set in the years before.
Now before I am accused of being an ableist or supporting a narrative where disease is a punishment for an unhealthy lifestyle – I am not. I am talking about the things I want to be able to do, with my body and the opportunities it grants me, and I don’t want to risk that by making poor choices right now. I am also well aware that I have a family history of heart disease and stroke, putting me more at risk than someone else might be, and I know that no matter how healthy I live, there is never a guarantee for staying healthy, it simply doesn’t work that way.
It does work the other way round though: Not taking care of my body and mind increases my risk for falling ill big time.
The choices I make today affect how well I age. I am no longer immune to lack of sleep, stress and poor nutritional choices, I am not in my 20s anymore. And it is time I focus on that aspect of my life as much as I focus on taking care of my skin. (More info: The best skincare routine in your 20s)
What does that mean for my life and this blog going forward?
You might be wondering where I am going with all this, at least if you did manage to stay with me until now. Well, despite knowing the basics of what I need to do in terms of exercise, food and mental health, I have never looked into that topic with a scientific approach. I have a lot to learn about which of the things that are promoted are actually backed up by research. I have a lot to learn about the perimenopause and menopause that will affect my next few years now that I am just a few months short of turning 43. I have to learn how to integrate all these changes in my current life situation, presuming that moving in full-time into an all-inclusive facility and quitting my day job is not going to happen. And I would love to take you with me on that journey with occasional blog post on that topic.
I know a huge part of my audience here is in their mid-20s and what I am talking about couldn’t be further from your reality – don’t worry, the usual reviews and skincare knowledge posts will keep coming, I am not drastically shifting this to be a wellness channel for middle aged women. But maybe there will be something in that new content that you will get value out of as well.
So before I let you go, I quickly want to share two more things this week in Tenerife taught me as well: Sunscreen and sun smart behavior is not as commonplace as one might think in the skin care community on here – I more than once felt compelled to run around with a bucket of SPF, covering flaming red faces, backs and shoulders. Which I obviously did not do, because your body, your choice, but trust me, it did require some restraint. And second: I can now say: “No, I really do not want to participate in the pool quiz” fluent in French, English, Spanish and German!