The Fine Art of Aging and Learning to Treat Yourself Better

Last week, I turned 49 years old. My birthday was quiet but nice. A friend came over briefly to give me a card. I had planned a small party for Saturday evening, but my lungs were feeling messy, so I played it safe. I’ve been hearing a lot about respiratory viruses going around.

As usual, I received a ton of birthday greetings from friends and family on social media, primarily Facebook and Messenger. It’s a good feeling to hear from people you haven’t spoken to for a while and see all the connections I have made through the years. When it comes to birthdays, trying to keep up with everyone’s messages and wishes can be overwhelming. I’m the type of person who tends to respond as soon as possible, which can be a bad thing sometimes. It’s terrible because I type without thinking and often say something wrong. The other bad thing is that I’m checking social media way more than I should.

As I mentioned last week, one of my goals this year is to spend less time on social media and mainly communicate through Messenger and email. Not only is it good for my mental health, but it also tells me who my real friends are. It takes more time to write a post or a selfie than to message someone to say hi; how are you?

Also, more personable. It’s like you genuinely care about how someone is doing. Instead of just making a post about yourself and hoping people will respond.

In all fairness, many people use social media to keep in touch with friends and family and meet new people. Some people use social media as a way to cope with their mental health challenges. I’m not judging you. I see you, and I understand.

Along with turning 49, I’ve been continuing to work on myself. I’m meditating daily, learning more about mindfulness, and calming my thoughts. Another thing I’m doing is changing up my space by decluttering and getting rid of things that take up space but don’t bring me joy anymore.

For example, I spent most of my Saturday decluttering my desk. I had a lot of geeky knick-knacks on my desk, which was also cluttering my mind.

For my birthday, a friend sent me an excellent LED light pole. So, I decided to play around with it and create a more calming space for myself and my guests. Before changing my area, I always turned on the LED lights on my walls and ceiling. They’re cool to look at but were becoming overwhelming. I still have them up, but often, less is more.

Change is good, too.

Soon, I plan to replace some of my geeky wall decorations with more calming and relaxing art and decorations. I will sell some items, keep some in bins, and rotate out every few months.

Much like myself, it’ll be a work in progress.

It may sound cliché, but turning 49 taught me much about myself and my life. Hobbies are great, but there is such a thing as overkill with them. As I get older, I want to focus on what brings me joy and give myself a gentler space in my home.

Before I roll out this week’s article, I want to mention one more thing about social media.

The day before my birthday, I posted a list of some of my accomplishments. This wasn’t to brag or for any similar reasons. I did it to remind myself and others of what I have done and what I overcame and continue to overcome in my daily life. We all have struggles and obstacles and need to discuss and share them more.

There are so many people out there who are struggling with mental health challenges and feeling like they can’t ask for help or even talk about it. Again, I completely understand that, and I still have days when I don’t feel like I have the space or energy to talk about my struggles.

People are busy and struggling, so I often keep to myself or my closest friends. I’m more of a person who would rather listen to others talk about their struggles and help them find solutions if I can.

However, always doing that can be exhausting and sometimes lead to saying things you don’t mean. It can also be frustrating not being able to help someone or when they don’t listen to your advice.

Later on, you’re left wondering what the point was, and the next thing I know, it’s almost bedtime. I can forget about getting any sleep that night, even though I take a sleeping pill. My brain just keeps rolling as I try to sleep.

Long story not so short, I’m learning to focus on myself and my needs more. It’s hard, but I’m worth it.

I don’t want to say that I’m maturing. I still laugh at immature things and watch cartoons, especially those I grew up with . . . Ok . . . and sometimes Spongebob Squarepants.

I’ve learned a lot, and I believe it is time to utilize that knowledge and experience better while I still can.

Better late than never.

Last but not least, thank you to my PSW for helping me to declutter. I’m grateful for her help and look forward to continuing my journey.