So I turn 40 today*. Woohoo!
I've received lots of comments, 'ooohs and aaahs', pitying and sympathetic looks, and lots of reassurance that 'age is but a number'. But only a few positive and congratulatory remarks (would those be for making it this far? 😂).
Is this an indication of how everyone else feels about getting older? I hope not, because I can honestly say that I feel the best I ever remember feeling, across all aspects of my life. I certainly wouldn't want to go back to being 20 where I didn't know who the hell I was, relationships were stressful because I always doubted myself, I abused my body and I didn't know how to eat properly. I envy the 20 years olds of today even less because they have this MASSIVE BEAST of social media and technology to deal with. Yes, these things can be useful, but they require huge amounts of self-control and understanding to use appropriately - do we honestly have that at 20?
So how the hell did I manage to 'find myself' feeling f**king fabulous at forty?!! After working through my own health and wellness journey over the past 5 years, I've captured my biggest lessons below in what I call my 'Cutting the CRAP' strategy.
*Don't worry, I wrote this post earlier in the week as it's likely that I'm currently recovering from last night's celebrations 🎈🥂 Recovery from over indulgence for me these days involves preventative methods such as activated charcoal and lots of H20, plus some liver support like milk thistle, B vitamins and antioxidants like Glutathione or Vitamin C to mitigate some of the damage. Sad or sensible?!
Cutting the CRAP
How can you expect your body and brain to function properly when you're overloading them with CRAP? Unnecessary CRAP is a distraction and diverts everything away from it's real purpose. CRAP diverts your liver away from being able to detoxify, it diverts your stomach acid and blood supply away from breaking down food, it diverts your brain away from the true important things in life, and it diverts you away from your purpose.
My definition of CRAP, and how I managed to find myself feeling f**king fabulous at forty, is:
C = comparisons. I stopped comparing myself to others and focused on me for a change. When I did this I actually learnt a lot about what makes me tick. I had to try hard to stop the negative self-talk but eventually it disappears. It did mean I had to stop myself from judging others so much, my husband also taught me a lot about this and he helps keep me on the straight and narrow when I get distracted. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is to quit or reduce the amount of time I spent on social media. There is very little posted on there that is real or a true reflection of someone's life, most of it is utter CRAP. Programs like Catfish on MTV have highlighted this. What's worse, this study showed a strong and significant association between social media use and depression in a sample of US young adults, and further, one of the founders of Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya, says he feels 'tremendous guilt' for his part in creating “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works”. I switched off my Facebook account for a year and didn’t really miss it! Now I try one day a week where i don't go on it, and I have switched off my notifications so I can decide for myself when to check in.
R = refined 'food-like' substances such as refined sugars, refined flours and refined vegetable oils, the worst kinds of CRAP in our modern diets. Nature provides things in a certain form for a reason. For example, fruit and vegetables have carbohydrates but also come with built in fibre to slow down the uptake of the carbs and keep blood-sugar more balanced. If you strip all of the goodness out of a product, interfering with it's natural form so much the body doesn't recognise it, you will come into problems. Our biology is tens of thousands of years old and nothing on earth could adapt us fast enough to the modern methods of food processing that we've seen develop over the past 100 years. I try and stick to olive oil (or occasionally coconut oil), have reduced my need for sweet things and use less refined flours.
A = additives (usually in the form of synthetic chemicals). Meaning anything that is unnecessarily added to food, environment, clothes, or air. Our bodies find it difficult to recognise and process these synthetic chemicals (otherwise known as CRAP) and so become distracted trying to deal with them. If I can't pronounce it, I try not to go near it. That goes for food, beauty products and household cleaners (I mostly make my own and love the versatility of essential oils).
P = people. CRAP can come at you through people who distract you from doing what YOU want and need. When I focused more on looking after myself I found that accepting some invitations or dealing with some people when I didn’t feel up to it set me back and wasn’t good for my health. I’m now mindful enough to weigh up whether these relationships are good for me or not. In doing so I’ve been able to better recognise and value the friendships I do have and work on those. Judging people less has also been brilliant for appreciating people’s differences and respecting differing opinions. These relationships feel much healthier and more genuine than those I felt like I had to maintain.
Does this resonate with you? Or are you a bit skeptical? If so, I challenge you to try cutting just ONE CRAPPY THING for ONE WEEK. Let me know how you get on.
Happy birthday to me 💖