Birthday Ponderings: 3 Keys to increase your happiness as you get older

It’s the most stressful wonderful time of the year. December isn’t just Christmas time for me because December 17th is also my birthday. Today I turned 42. Time flies! So amidst all the Christmas hectic and pressure I also had to think about a yes or no birthday party. This year I decided not to throw a party and instead enjoy a free, lazy Advent Sunday. With age also comes wisdom and self-preservation. Through experience I learned to choose for myself first and that it’s fine to disregard other people’s expectations. So I did just that. I kept my PJs on all day, had a luxurious brunch under the Christmas tree and watched Christmas movies. Speaking of life’s little luxuries! I also thought about the key choices I made to increase my happiness and would love to share them with you today. [read on after photo]

Don’t stop doing…

In Northwestern society you are labeled old after 36. People stop going out dancing, discovering new things and people, and exploring beyond their comfort zone. We can learn so much from people in the southern hemisphere and tropical cultures. There, people of all ages mingle and adopt parts of each others  lifestyle. I love being in the Caribbean for example, where you see seniors dancing the night away, or where I go to nighttime happy hours on a weekday which are packed with 40-something business professionals. Becoming a parent or getting older doesn’t mean you have to give up yourself or your own joys. You shouldn’t be a hostage of your children or your age. If you see your age as a reason to stop doing and staying still, you won’t get to experience all the little luxuries and joys that are up for grabs around you.

Don’t give up on your dreams

Don’t give up on your dreams might sound as a cliché, but if I would get an Euro for each time someone said to me I was too old for … I would be rich by now. Think of what you want out of tomorrow and not about what other people want you to do or be. You don’t have to adhere to what everyone else is doing at age 42. While others put value on investing in career opportunities or acquiring material things, I find my happiness in new experiences and connections with others. There is no age at which you have to abandon your dreams and surrender to the possibilities. Set goals that bring you home to yourself and never stop exploring.

Let go of toxic things and people

Through the years I had to let go of  a few toxic things and people. They aren’t toxic inherently, but they were for me. When someone no longer uplifts you and drains your energy there is no energy left to pursue what does make you happy. When something doesn’t serve you anymore it’ll bring you down. Be brave enough to recognize and acknowledge that some things and some people outgrow you and that you have to move on without them. It’ll make space for new, invigorating opportunities.

But, remember, you’re not over the hill after 36! You’re only as old as you act and feel. Whether you’re 30 or 50, every day is a new opportunity to nurture your curiosity, feed your soul and go out to explore new things. And that mindset is the best anti-wrinkle cream you can have.



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3 thoughts on “Birthday Ponderings: 3 Keys to increase your happiness as you get older

  1. Happy Birthday!
    My birthday is December 27th and these ponderings were perfectly timed for me. I let go of a stressful 17-year friendship yesterday, and then today I saw your article. Thank you for the reassurance that I’m doing the right thing as my birthday approaches. And yes, Advent is a wonderful time of the year!

    1. Thanks Renee! I’m sorry to hear about your friend. Hope you feel better soon. Can you believe how quick this year went? Seems like yesterday that you were in Haarlem and celebrating your birthday in the Netherlands. Too bad I wasn’t able to meet you then. Happy birthday and Merry Christmas!

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