18 Gumbeaux Sistahs Steps to Living Happily Ever After
by Jax Frey, Author, Artist

1. Make friends. No man or woman is an island. You must be at least an isthmus with one arm reaching out towards other people. Connect with others – it will only bring you new adventures and happiness. How can you connect? The simplest way is to join a group with a common interest such as a volunteer group, a pottery class, a writer’s group, etc. You get the idea. Don’t be afraid to try a couple of groups – why not? Go out and find your people!

2. Keep learning. Commit to learning one new skill a year. Maybe learn how to make the world’s best gumbo! Whatever it is, it will enrich your life.

3. Contribute to society. Volunteer or pick a cause to fight against or defend. Help promote your favorite candidates and laws. Educate yourself on your cause and get involved.

4. Eat healthy food. We need to keep our bodies running well to get the maximum enjoyment out of our lives. Yes, good healthy food can add to your well-being and happiness.

5. Stay physically active. If you don’t like the gym, go dancing. Or swimming. Or riding a bike.  As they say, "Move it or lose it.” 

 6. Push back sometimes and learn to say NO to things and people that cause you undue stress.

7. Travel! It’s always a mind-expanding experience. Even short trips count if you go with an open mind and heart. Just get out there!

8. Enjoy the confidence that comes with your age. Enjoy feeling good in your skin, possibly for the first time in your life. The French have a phrase for it – ‘bien dans sa peau’.  It means well in one’s skin. As we age, we worry less and less about what other people think about us. Self-consciousness goes out the window and self-confidence steps in. So why not enjoy it? It’s one of the true benefits of aging.

9. Reinvent yourself. Just for fun, try stepping into the shoes of a person who you admire or always wanted to be. You could dress like that person or do something they would do. What would that feel like? Take notes on your experience and take away from it what you like and leave the remainder behind.

10. Create something. Find your creative outlet. It could be painting, writing, sculpture, music, weaving, knitting, glassblowing, etc. If you don’t know what you’d like to do – try taking lessons in several of them until you find the one that makes your heart sing!

11. Go experience something you’ve never done before and talk to new people. It stimulates the brain, enhancing creativity. And you need creativity to invent a fabulous life for yourself.

12. Stop apologizing and speak your truth. Be authentically and wholly yourself – maybe for the first time in your life.

13. Time seems to go faster as you age. Take moments to slow down for a few moments each day and savor something you love and that brings you peace.  Having early morning coffee in my backyard does it for me.  Your peace-creating activity might be -reading to a child or stopping to appreciate birdsong. It might be greeting the sunset every day or meditating in a quiet space. I find that these moments are easier to appreciate when you’re out in nature, but they can be done anywhere.

14. Want what you have instead of stressing about getting what you don’t have. Simplify.

15. Learn to let go. Life is too damned short to hold onto the bad things that haunt us from the past. There are a million articles on Google about letting go. It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen exactly the way you want it to, but it can happen. See a therapist if you want professional help with it. Whatever it takes - just get yourself free.

16. Become an optimist. It might take some practice. So, if you find yourself feeling negative at times, try looking at the situation or person from someone else’s perspective, just as an exercise.  Imagine how you might describe the situation or person in a positive way to a friend to reinforce the habit.

17. If you already have an established group of friends, consider inviting another person to join you. Many people have been friends for ages and tend to close off their little groups to newcomers.  But you and your friends might just benefit from adding a new person’s energy, stories, and affection. There are a lot of lonely people in this world – you could help make one less.

18. Start a Gumbeaux Sistahs group! Want to know how? It’s easy! Just Visit - www.gumbeauxsistahs.com

Jax Frey is an artist and the author of The Gumbeaux Sistahs, a novel. Available at Amazon.com
Find out more at www.gumbeaux sistahs.com
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Jax’s art can be seen at www.artbyjax.com