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HALF-CENTURY WISDOM FROM THIS BIRTHDAY GIRL



Yes, 2020 is the year we’ll remember for the pandemic and the uber-polarizing election, but I will also remember it as the year I turned 50. My nerves were already raw, so when I ushered in the big 5-0 last week, it gave my already emotional self all the feels. Equal parts denial because it went so damn fast, loads of gratitude because it’s been an amazing ride so far and super excited for all that’s ahead. And while I had planned celebrate this milestone in a much different way that involved travel to one of my favorite places, I’m a glass-is-half-full kind of girl. Instead of a decadent escape, I leaned even more into this big, full, glorious life of mine. And part of that leaning included taking stock of the most important lessons I’ve learned. If you’ve read either of my books you know that part of who I am and what makes me tick is sharing what I’ve learned with all of you. So here’s my Half-Century Wisdom. 


Stop shrinking to fit places you’ve outgrown.

When something doesn’t fit anymore—whether it’s a job (or an entire career), a relationship, or clothes from high school—it’s time to let go and move on. It can be scary as hell, but it’s so much better than staying in and holding onto things that aren’t right for you. If I hadn’t lived this way, I would still be a lawyer, which is an incredibly respectful and necessary profession, but was completely horrible for me. I’d be long-divorced from the wrong guy, and my closet would be filled with clothes from before babies that I was still telling myself my spread rib cage would get back into. Had I not let go, I wouldn’t have found all the things that fit me just right. One of the best habits we can adopt is checking in with ourselves and asking, “Where am I shrinking myself to fit, when I should be letting myself fly?”


Our skin is worth five minutes a day.

Helping hundreds of women (and dozens of men) with their skin has taught me that the better our skin looks, the more confident we are. I’m not talking about trying to look 25 at 50. It’s about looking our best at any age, and that requires taking great care of our biggest organ. And that requires five minutes a day and, if you add in a skin mask, 45 minutes a week. Yes, we’re busy. But you know you spend way more than five minutes a day scrolling through social media. And you spend more than 45 minutes bitching about things you have absolutely no control over and can't possibly change. So buy the skincare that actually lives up to the hype and then actually use it. Daily. No matter what’s going on in the world, it’s a definite mood-lifter to routinely get mistaken for a decade younger than you are.


Stop and smell the flowers.

Turn off the phone. Ditch the laptop. Watch the movie. Read the book. Grab the friend and go for the walk. Take the nap. I’m not saying abandon your goals. But we’ve got to listen to our bodies and minds and give ourselves what we need, when we need it. Because when we do, we’ll be far more productive toward slaying our goals and far less likely to turn to things that aren’t good for us in an effort to numb the pain/anxiety/exhaustion that comes with always doing instead of remembering we’re human beings.


Darling, remember how far you’ve come.

It’s so easy for us to focus the goals not reached, the dreams not yet realized. As this big birthday approached, I found myself hearing the ticking clock getting louder and seeing the list of things I haven’t done yet as a blinking neon sign in my mind. But then I remembered what I’ve been practicing and coaching for more than a decade—abundance over scarcity. It’s not about how little time there may be left and what we haven’t yet accomplished. It’s about how many goals we’ve already made, how many people we’ve already touched, how many lessons we’ve learned. If we’re paying attention, everything that’s happened up to this point can point us toward what we really want to do during our next trip around the sun, and the next, and the one after that. 


Buddah said, “In the end, only three things matter: How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” In my second half, I vow to do more loving, being a lot gentler with myself and others and continue to let go of everything that doesn’t serve me. I hope you’ll join me.

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Romi Neustadt © 2019