yes, it is my birthday, and i am officially now 450 years old. adjusted for “you’re only as old as you feel”, that makes me about 975.

but, in the interest of avoiding cleaning the bathroom, i thought i would share some of my secrets for staying so young at heart:

1- try to worry a lot. i find that cringing every time i see a kid (any kid, not just mine) on a skateboard, or toddlers playing too near the road, or obsessing over how much time i should allow my son to play computer games is a great cardio workout. my heart beats hard and fast, similar to a really strenuous aerobics class. so, without signing up for a gym membership, or buying workout clothes, or having to take showers in a semi-public setting, i am giving my heart pretty top-notch exercise on a fairly regular basis.

2- rather than eating from the rainbow, i like to eat foods that match my wardrobe. i think that, over the course of the week, it’s important to have dark chocolate, milk chocolate, filled chocolate, white chocolate, shaped chocolate, hot chocolate, hot chocolate with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and sometimes mint chocolate (for that wonderful tingly fresh feeling it leaves in your mouth afterward).

3- sleep frequently. yes, as a mom i might not get to sleep a lot, so i sleep often instead. in fact, on the average night, i would say that i sleep approximately 8-10 times. nothing like those goth under-eye circles to make you look like a teenager!

4- wear hand-me-downs from your kids. it was always a source of profound shame when my own mother did this, but now i really see the positive side of wearing clothes that have already been broken in. sweaters are comfy and stretched out in all the right places. shirts may be unravelling, but with the right boots, that can be a fashion statement. no, i will not be one of those 65 year olds wearing a mini-skirt and fish nets, but what’s a pair of “borrowed” socks here and there between family? dress like a kid, feel like a kid, right? now all i need is for all of my friends to wear similar clothing because, after all, how could you look like a rebellious teenager unless all of your friends are rebelling in exactly the same way?

5- have a beauty routine, and stick to it. for example, most days i will wear deodorant, whether or not i even need it. i use dish liquid that softens hands while i do dishes. ok, technically that commercial has been off the air for several decades, but who can forget madge soaking unsuspecting hands in magical dish liquid? it might be a small thing, but a woman has to pamper herself you know…

6- work on being sedentary. it’s actually harder than it looks. the same principle that makes weight training work better if you do it sloooooooowly is the principle at work here. if going slow creates resistance, just imagine what i am up against when i literally force myself to stay on the couch reading a book when the dogs need to be let out or someone needs me to find something in the kitchen.

7- try to develop different scowls for different occasions. if you always frown in the same way, you will get wrinkles. but by keeping your facial expressions bizarre and varied, you will maintain elasticity in your skin and keep people guessing at the same time.  i think that killing two birds with one stone also adds years to your life, but i haven’t figured out the exact mathematical formula for that yet…

8- try to say perplexing things every so often. it might not make you younger, but it certainly makes me feel younger. remember the days of quoting esoteric philosophers? or dropping into conversation that you happen to be reading a 1,000 page book? yes, these days i am more likely to name drop about the brand of bar soap that i am using (for a while it was a pomegranate glycerin thing, and truthfully, i felt cool every single time i said it!), but the idea is still the same. if you say things people don’t understand, you not only appear freakishly smart, but you appear timeless and therefore ageless.

9- do mental gymnastics. study after study shows that exercising your brain (i accidentally typed that as ‘bairn’- so i might actually be referring to scottish babies in some sort of freudian way…) will ward off dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other age-related declines. i bought an LSAT prep book, and then a book of mixed puzzles. i did them for a while, but they made my brain feel old and tired. so now i stick to truly amazing feats, like trying to remember the grocery list or attempting to learn our seattle phone number. i know it sounds deceptively simple, but You try memorizing my grocery list and see how tough it is!

10- do what you love. in all seriousness, i am so lucky to have a life filled with so many things i love. i am past the point where i have to prove anything to anyone, and that it SO liberating! i can read what i want and dress how i want and shop where i want. i can follow my passions and try new things or not. so many things in my life fill me up with joy and gratitude, and i think that really does keep me happy and young. now if only i could learn to use the caller ID…