Now 30 years later (and grateful for each one), I reflect back on those carefree years of feeling invincible with a mixture of longing and Monday-morning quarterbacking. I’m not saying that if I’d done things differently I wouldn’t have gotten breast cancer. But I do believe that there are things we can all do in our 20s, 30s and beyond to improve our chances of aging as gracefully and healthfully as we can.
Even though it might seem far in the future, aging hits all of us—if we’re lucky. “Your health is your most important asset—and attention to self-care beginning in your teens and early 20s can be instrumental in preventing many life-threatening diseases,” says Dr. Jennifer Mieres, professor of cardiology and senior vice president of Northwell’s Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity.
Some of the biggest health threats as we age are within our control, and good choices while we’re young can even help combat things that might otherwise seem genetically destined. You can’t stop the aging process, but you can make little choices to safeguard your mind and body.
Here are the 6 things I’d tell my younger self about aging: