Editor’s letter: Eat cheese, get a pet and never lie about your age

I’ve written before about my unapologetic approach to ageing – how I’d never lie about my age (51) or agree with those who think I should. So it’s no surprise that I’ve jumped at the chance to feature a fantastic new book on the subject in this issue. Charlotte Bauer is singing my tune. Here, she argues – in ways that make me laugh out loud – for forgetting this idea of sweating to stay or look young and embrace where we are now. It’s an uplifting read and it made me reflect on why (so far) I just don’t really get upset that I’m not young any more. I’m not trying to ‘stay young’, but, like Charlotte, I do put effort into getting the best out of middle age. Here are some of the things that I think help me…

  • Exercise. I’m not talking about marathon training. There are millions of workouts online. Pick your time, your style, your effort level. I only had 20 minutes this morning but the endorphin boost will sustain me all day. It’s great for stress, energy, sleep. Not to mention self-esteem – there’s nothing like that feeling of having conquered it.
  • Seek out laughter. Every day. If none of my friends can make me giggle (which is rare, they all do), I look for something that I know will. Even on my most stressful or lowest days, I deserve five minutes to see the funny side of something. Anything.
  • Wear what the hell you like. Two fingers to any rules of what I’m supposed to be wearing at my age, or for my weight. I love, love, love clothes and I won’t apologise for being obsessed with outfits because they boost my mood and make me feel ‘armed’ for the challenges of every day.
  • Make the effort with people. It’s easy to feel a bit put out if you haven’t heard from a friend in a while. So I don’t wait for a call – I call.
  • Get a pet. If you can take on the commitment, it fills a house with love and energy.
  • Do something nice for no reason. This is particularly great if I’m wallowing in any sort of low mood. It gives me a buzz, as if in some small way I’ve made a difference to someone else. Which probably means it’s not selfless of me, but does that matter?
  • Be grateful. My favourite Peloton instructor is always saying that we all have something we can be grateful for. It’s worth reminding yourself of those things as often as possible.
  • Drink wine. Eat cheese. I saw a line on Instagram once that said, ‘I don’t want to look back one day and think, “I could have eaten that.”’
  • Also I do love sometimes reflecting on the many things about my 20s that I don’t miss: terrible boyfriends, criminal landlords, weeks on end of cheap, poor nutrition. I had no wrinkles and a tinier waist, but I don’t remember even once looking in the mirror and giving myself an appreciative double thumbs-up, so what was the point?

Do you have a list like the above? Let me hear about it – we older (hopefully a bit wiser) birds should keep sharing the inspiration, wisdom and joy, don’t you think?

Editor’s picks:

A few things I’m coveting this week

blouseI’m taking this, with cropped trousers and heels, for a cocktail. Blouse, £29.99, shop.mango.com

cushionBold, beautiful stripes always look expensive. Cushion, £24.99, hm.com

rum punchDelicious pre-mixed drinks from a mother-and-daughters company. Rum punch, £25, kudacocktails.com