As I aged, one of the biggest mental health changes I noticed was how little I could tolerate. For example, when I was younger, I said yes to everything as most people do with unlimited energy.

What I have observed since I turned forty is that what my mind would say yes to in advance, my body said no to when the time arrived.

When I was younger, I would have pushed through the discomfort to please others. The discomfort was all-encompassing.

Now, to protect my mental health and respect the limits of my body, I risk appearing flighty to acknowledge and respect my own limits.

In summary, I see it as a good thing that I no longer have unlimited physical energy because now I say yes to my mental health instead of pleasing others.


It’s okay to change your mind.

I change my mind daily. And I bet you do, too!

I am an eternal optimist, so I believe that whenever someone asks me to do something, I “think” I can do it with no problem, independent of the constraints of time and energy.

Given my expertise in resilience and health psychology, I feel added responsibility during the pandemic to say yes to everything, including community workshops, coffee talks, interviews, and Zoom meetings.

Because if not me, then who?

And then one day I woke up (grew up!) and realized that if I’m saying yes to everyone, the only person I’m letting down is me.

It’s okay to change your mind.

You don’t know what your body is capable of until the moment arrives.

Aging is like the pandemic; everything changes quickly. We may feel good today, but that does not guarantee that we will feel good tomorrow–mentally, physically, or emotionally.

There are so many variables at play in the universe. Most of them are beyond our control.

For example, quick changes surfaced when I had to teach with a mask on for three hours straight. In addition to the pressures of teaching in the classroom, wearing a mask added stress to my body. For me, the classroom used to be a place that was filled with joy, excitement, and discovery. Now, much of my time is spent keeping students safe.

This experience has underscored the link between physiology and psychology and how important it is to consider the impact of our bodies on our minds.

The people in your life, who love you unconditionally, will love you whether you “do it” or “don’t do it.”

I was conditioned at a very young age to “keep the peace” and be agreeable, and in doing so, I denied my own needs. This became apparent as my estrogen “left the building” during perimenopause. It became harder to “keep the peace” at the expense of my own.

What I have learned since then is that the only relationships that are good for my mental health are the ones that accept “all of me,” the ones that love me unconditionally, not because I agree, but because I am me.

Flighty. Capricious. Impulsive. Reflective. Quiet. Loud. Unexpected. Everchanging me.