Want to be 50 and fabulous?

As I approach my 59th birthday this month I have been repeatedly asked, “how do you do it? how do you manage to seem so young?”
If there was one simple answer that I could offer it would be to live in the present moment.
Since I have been asked this question frequently it occurs to me that there is a need for some advice, ideas and information and since I am at the tail end of the fifty- plus scale, my experience might be of value to just about any woman, no matter what her age.

Here’s one thing I can tell you right off the bat. Wear sunscreen, get a moisturizer with sunscreen, winter, spring, summer and fall. Wear sunscreen.

Avoid tanning, it ruins, ruins, ruins your skin forever.
I had the good fortune to have a mother who was near maniacal about keeping me out of the sun. She had me wearing big floppy hats, gigantic sunglasses well before there were children’s sunglasses, long sleeves and a weird pasty sun block that filtered out any and all possibility of sun getting on my blonde head, my white skin.
At the time I wanted to be like everyone else, especially in my teen years when throngs of us piled onto the bus headed down the Wantagh State Parkway to Jones Beach State Park. I wanted a tan, I wanted that “California girl” look that the Beach boys were singing about on my brand new green and white General Electric transistor radio tuned into the Good Guys on WMCA or Murray the K and his swinging soiree.

Instead I was the one that was covered up like a character in a Jane Austen novel with layers of fabric and gauze a big hat. The only thing that was missing was the parasol.

Keep in mind that I am an outdoors kind of person so this was more than a challenge keeping the sun off my face.
But there was a method to mom’s madness and as I grew up and grew older, I began to appreciate what she had forced me to do, who she had made me be, the girl with the white pasty legs when everyone was else was nut brown and sexy looking. Or so I thought.

One day a some years ago I taking a walk on the Jones Beach boardwalk, at that time I was about 50 years old and I ran into one of those gals I rode on the bus to Jones Beach with by the name of Kathleen. She was one of the bionde goddesses I aspired to be, cheerleader, captain of kickline and always with a gorgeous summer tan.
Exactly the same age, we had graduated from high school in the class of 1969. The was one startling difference between us that no one could deny. Kathleen and I looked years apart in age. Kathleen who had been one of the sun worshipers of the day was dried up and wrinkled. Her face had lost all of its elasticity and the wrinkles and deep furrows were a bit of a shock to me. Worse her skin had a brownish tinge and was scattered with leathery looking age spots.

At that moment I said a silent prayer of thanks to my mother and later wrote her a thank you note for keeping me out of the sun. A suntan is not worth the damage that accrues by the time your forties start rolling around. Trust me if you are reading this and you are young and not a believer.
Kathleen said to me, “You hardly look any different than you did in high school, your skin is smooth. Actually you look better than you did in high school!”
Then she added a little sheepishly, ” who was my plastic surgeon? ” I let her know that no surgery was involved, just having the good fortune to have mother who kept me out of the sun.

If I could offer you one piece of advice. The tan you avoid today will give you the face you want at 50. No surgery needed.

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