Sure, my waist has thickened, the tops of my arms are wider and more jiggly and my hair is thin compared to the thick curly mane I had in my twenties. All of these things that I can easily identify in the mirror have crept up on me as I age, but the things I didn’t notice until I took an inventory of my life were that along with some physical changes, there have been some psychological changes too.
1. I’m not trying to impress anyone
When I was younger, I made many choices about how I dressed and what I said based on my perception of what others thought. These days, I am far more likely to choose what makes me happy — be it yoga pants or a discussion about politics. I don’t often think twice about how others see or think about me.
2. I accept my body
Looking back on my younger years, I had a great body, and I could have worn anything and looked good. I never loved that body. I always thought something about it needed to change. Now I am thankful that my body is healthy and can carry me from one place to another, and to be honest, I think it looks great just the way it is.
3. I try to nurture and grow friendships
Years ago, friendships seemed to sprout up and then fizzle out, but there were always new people to fill in the cracks. Now, I cherish the people who I meet and try to keep those relationships healthy and thriving.
4. I love women and want the best for them
I spent so much time in my youth being envious and jealous of all the successes, new boyfriends, new jobs and accomplishments of the women I knew, but now I celebrate the good news of all the women I know and with whom I am in contact.
More: How the simple act of acceptance saved me from my midlife crisis
5. I define success by happiness
I used to define success by awards and money. Now, the people I think of as the most successful don’t have the biggest house or most prestigious job title; the people who are successful are the ones who are enjoying their lives.
6. I’ve learned laughter is the best medicine
I know it is a cliché, but it is a cliché worth accepting. No matter how bad of a day my partner or I have, we can almost always make each other laugh. I had no idea how much laughter would heal my heart and calm my worries as I aged.
7. I’m able to help out my parents
When you are younger, you often look to your parents for help with everything from doing your laundry to paying your phone bill. When you reach a certain age, it is more likely that you will help your parents than that they will help you.
8. I can accept that I’ve made it
As a teenager, I never thought I would make it to thirty. I have made it way beyond thirty, and I am so happy and thankful to be here. I have a sense of gratitude in my daily life. I am deeply thankful for so much of what others consider mundane. That feeling of appreciation for the everyday takes some time to grow into, and when you do, rest assured you are aging, but it has its benefits.