Pro-Youth: Confessions of a Girl 26 Going on 16

Somewhere, sometime ago, I read that there's merit in turning a statement into whatever the positive spin to it is. I was about to say Anti-Aging, then I remembered that and just renamed the entry Pro Youth. After all, we all want to stay young-looking, yes?

 This is me, five years ago. I sure hope I don't look too different.

Or maybe that's just me.

My journey to staying the youngest that I can started when I started working. In my young mind, I would spare a percentage of my first salary to splurge on anti-aging creams since I was about to jump into the "real world" and therefore get my share of stress. My first bottle of anti-aging cream was Olay Total Effects. While it has worked for me, my skin, I guess, have evolved and well, the search has continued and sometimes, it's a hit. Sometimes it's a miss.

At this point, I'm a lucky person with a lot of hits. Not that I'm really hell-bent on looking 16 when I'm really 26 already. Age can be a tricky thing --- people can get offended when they get asked of theirs, most want to look younger, some want to look older and worldly. I am more of the latter. I'd have loved to stay and look 16 forever -- fresh faced, no lines or creases on the naso-labial line {did I get that right?}, or the corners of my eyes without whispers of laughs that passed by --- but to be honest, I do love how I've matured up a bit. I like that my built is now more a woman than a teenager, I like that my jaw and cheek bones announce dignity {feeling ko!} and my lips can now curve into a knowing smile, unlike the yesteryears when I would just smile awkwardly in photos.

Still, there's a fierce wanting inside -- in all of us, I guess, to preserve the elasticity of the skin, the sparkle in the eyes, the vitality in every word we utter, that spring in our step. Just the other day, my friend's baby brother laughed me off as I sauntered past him in a jumpsuit --- he said I looked like a kid. Maybe I do live out this Pro Youth thing. Soon after, I was inspired to share with anyone who'll read, how I've come to become someone who's 26 going on 16.

1. Play with colors. I can't remember how many times I've gotten several "Why are you dressed like that / You're too young to dress like that?" comments from executives at our office. I've confessed to dressing up in grays and blacks {like this} for the purpose of commanding attention and respect in tough meetings. "You can still do that -- even with fun colors, you know," a colleague said. Now that I think about it, I do act serious, strict and glum in dark, nondescript colors. Since then, I've reverted to yellows, oranges and fuchsias, and my life -- personal and professional were livelier.

 In 2011, in probably my most colorful piece of clothing.

2. Sing and dance whenever you feel like it. I cannot enumerate how bad stress is -- for the health, for the skin, for the digestive system. I once again remember our family doctor telling us that stress is the mother of all sicknesses and I mentally purge everything stressful and unhealthy out of me. While everyone has a different coping mechanism, mine is singing and dancing. Every single day, on the way and from the office, I sing and bust some moves. One time at a stop light in Mandaluyong, I belted out an entire verse of Madonna's Open Your Heart to Me and the car next to me just watched in awe. So much for being discreet.

 I was singing and dancing to Mr. Brightside like I couldn't care less. I will always love this photo. Pure, unadulterated fun, I must say.

3. Spend time with the people who matters the most. When you're working and have very limited time, you don't get the luxury of time anymore {I used to think I did and now I don't, boo}. Choose who you spend it with, choose how and see yourself get refreshed. People you don't like often sap out the childlike wonder in you and will just drive you crazy.

4. Move. When I look at my planner and see what I've been doing since the beginning of the year, I couldn't help but give myself a pat on the back despite that being so vain. There wasn't a week that I didn't do at least one activity {yoga being the most prevalent, running the second, pole classes third and various activities like boxing interspersed}. Physical activity awakens muscles and according to Dr. Oz {of Oprah}, is a main contributor to avoiding sicknesses. Being physically active has led me to feel better about myself, to sweat out the toxins and act like a kid, especially when I'm dancing. 

Or my favorite activity: Yoga

5. This is where the vain part comes in --- invest in a functional anti aging cream. In my case, as it is now, both day and night creams are anti aging {or pro youth, as I'd like to call it} in nature. For day, I use Pond's Age Miracle {the improved version with Cell Regen} and for night, I use Elizabeth Arden's Prevage {with something like Idebanone?}. Never one to be nerdy with chemicals, I find that my day cream, while being thick, doesn't become too oily in this heat {say hello to 32C, ugh} and my night cream is something that my skin drinks up while I'm sleeping without breaking me out. If you will indulge me -- there was this incident one morning when I passed by my Snow White Evil Queen Mother mirror {very antique/cartoonish, so to speak}, and did a double take. My skin was refreshed and bright. Bongga.

Of course  anti-aging creams don't come cheap, at least they are not cheap by my standards --- Age Miracle is about Php 600 per 50g jar and Prevage by Elizabeth Arden is somewhere around Php 6,000, I am not even sure. It takes some practice to know which ones fit your skin, or to know if the effect will last because in all these years testing a number of creams that would put a lab rat to shame, I've wasted a couple of pesos, had the unnecessary breakouts and cried over creams that wouldn't have any effect at all. Thank goodness that these are perfect -- at least now, and for the past month {for Prevage} and the last two weeks for Age Miracle.

6. Sleep. Drink lots of water. Eat your veggies.  I know they are pretty normal but we all need all the reminder that we can get. Don't think you're superhuman and that you can function at the minimum number of hours of sleep possible. I've seen older people's health break down -- and they were the ones who pushed themselves to the limit, not wanting to sleep even when their body called for it. The ones who did not like water at some point had weak kidneys and the ones who didn't eat vegetables looked well, not as bright as the ones who do. Again, that's just me.

7. The Hands and the Feet. I think it was at a Pond's event where I've learned that the hands and the feet show real age, too. Knowing fully well I won't be able to have them botox-ed just in case they get wrinkly, I have decided to start applying serum on them, too. I KNOW. SUPER VAIN. That used to be super secret, too --- I am not too sure whether that's helpful or a turn off  already.

8. The teeth. Over the weekend, I'd been hanging out with my best friend's mom and she told me a valuable lesson -- never let your teeth go. Your real teeth will support your cheek bones, making you look fresh and sharp. She says she's seen too many girls let go of their teeth thinking it's okay to have replacements {nothing bad, but prevention is always better}. Real teeth will make you look natural, she says. As for me, I constantly visit my dentist for tooth stuff, so my set of teeth should be all good!

I don't claim to be an expert on staying youthful but those are the things that make me seem {Again, FEELING ko} younger than my real age. What do you think? Have you got tips on how to look young? Share?