What is 'Age' anyway?

Today’s question in my ‘One question A Day - A Five Year Journal’ was ‘What age do you feel?’

I thought to myself, “what is age anyway?”

What does age define besides a number that is supposedly representative of your adulthood or level of maturity? However, I believe that age, in fact, sometimes places pressures and stigmas about where people of a certain age should be in their life: certain milestones we have reached, what jobs we have, where we should be in our career, and what we want in life.

Now, let me ask you. Do you know the answer to this complex question?

During my 20’s, I lived a very fortunate and fulfilling life. I knew that the outdoors made me happy so I immersed myself in them. After years of soaking up the sun and not enjoying wearing sunglasses or sunscreen, I now understand the importance of doing so.  

I have laugh lines, I have surprised lines, I have smile lines. To me, my ‘character lines’ are proof of just how much sun I’ve been blessed with over the years. I would not change my experiences for the world.

For me, turning the big 3-0 was an interesting process. I always had older friends and I constantly heard ’30’s are the best years of your life!' Turning 30 was something I had always been looking forward to. I remember being 23 and thinking, ‘I can’t wait until I’m 30!’ it seemed so far away at the time. But boy did those years fly by.

There was always a sense of curiosity for me. Where will I be in my life, what will I be doing, what would I have accomplished? And now here I am at 30 and one third. My life is far from perfect although I have so much to be proud of and grateful for.

Mostly, I feel incredibly fortunate to have made it this far.

At 30, I feel happier and more secure in my imperfect skin than I ever have before. I have a fulfilling career and am graciously healthy. The people I invest my time with are bad-ass and with years, I am only gaining more knowledge from and collecting more memories with these amazing humans. 

I am who I am. When people ask me, I feel as if I have to justify why I am not married with kids or feel compelled to answer why I chose to make some of my life decisions.

While I was traveling around Asia with Global Degree, in a few countries, the first question the locals would ask me is “Are you married?” 

Being 27 at the time, saying no, I got this response almost every time - “Oh, too late for you now." or "You too old!.”

The first few times this reaction triggered me, and then I learned to realize something very profound that I should have never doubted in the first place. We all grow up differently and become accustomed to certain expectations within our cultures. However, instead of attempting to live up to everyone else’s expectations, I had created goals of my own. I learned to laugh about it, take it with a grain of salt and accept these differences within us.  At this point in my life, ultimate happiness is most important to me.

These experiences made me realize how much pressure I put on myself for not fulfilling the societal norms of living a conventional life. I’ve realized that not everyone wants the same things, and that’s ok.

I feel like I’m becoming more open-minded, more curious and beginning to question what is ‘normal’?  - These are things I never considered in my early 20’s.

As someone who is quite active on social media, I often find it an extremely overwhelming space. I feel that over the years we have created societal pressure to be 'perfect'. We are living in a world of filters, highlight reels and behind glass screens.

It worries me to see young girls on social media who are already photoshopping their bodies. I feel that so many of us are striving for perfection when we don’t realize that we are all so unique and perfect in our own little ways. We should feel empowered to embrace our identity and set an example for younger generations. 

However, I am grateful that we have so much insight on how to properly care for our bodies and have access to ethical and organic products available more so than ever before. We live in such a consumer culture and advertisements can be very misleading. Almost everything is pumped with artificial harmful ingredients that are bad for us and damaging to our well-being.

It only took me 29 years to realize the importance of this. I am a consumer and I am committing my 30’s to making wiser ethical choices with my food, household and skin products that I use. 

So, back to my question… What is 'age' anyway?

I believe age is an illusion. A length of time that doesn’t represent the quality of one’s life. We are as old as we perceive to be. 

Staying true to ourselves, taking good mental and physical care of our bodies can not only keep us looking, but most importantly feeling ‘younger’.

I’ve started being more conscious of the products I’m putting on my skin. Taking into consideration where they’re made, what they’re made of and how they are tested. 

I have been using Glow face products for over a year now and feel more in alignment with my 30-year-old choices. My skin also feels better than ever! I frequent EOL Medi Spa for all my beauty needs from laser hair removal, skin care products, and facials.

All Glow products are free of parabens, sulfates, fragrances, and are completely Animal cruelty-free!

In honouring ALL ages, I wanted to share the love for our bodies largest organ - the skin.

I asked my friends at Essence Of L Medi Spa for a special 15% OFF discount on my favourite skin care line - Glow.

Shop the collection here!  

At checkout - Use Code: NAT30

I would love to read in the comments below how YOU feel about age.

 Alyssa Dawson Photography

Alyssa Dawson Photography

 

 

Spread Love, 

Natalia Anja 

 

 

 

A note from my friends on turning 30.

 

“The day I turned 30 I may have cried in the shower and felt so sad all day. It almost seems like the end of something young and fun! But now, being in my 30's, it's seriously exactly the same. Except you know who you are, you have more money to do things, and you feel so excited about life and all the things you have learned”! - Rozalind Panasuk

 

“I remember being in grade 6 and having a conversation over what we considered to be 'old' and we came up with 30. Now, at 53 I realize that 30 is just a spring chicken. I still feel full of energy and life and vision at my age. What was I thinking???!!!!”- Helen Balzer

 

“Of course I had those typical feelings of ‘I'm already 30 and I haven't done A B or C.’ Then, it all of a sudden hits you. That 30 is the new 20 and you are still young and have plenty of time to live your life, so EMBRACE it” - Kati Harris

 

“So far I can say with absolute confidence that my 30's have been the best of my life. I feel motivated, settled, confident and excited about all that my life holds. My career really took shape once I hit my 30's, my relationship with my husband evolved to a whole new amazing level, friendships are much more solid and meaningful, and I feel like I really know who I am.” - Cassidy Boult

 

“The first couple years of my 30’s were full of enlightenment, new experiences, and new adventures. I always believed as we grew older things got better. In my 30’s I realized things don’t get better or easier... But people change; they either grow better or stay stagnant. In my 30’s is when I started to feel comfortable in my own skin. I felt fulfillment without needing approval from others. I learned to be more understanding, patient and not to take things too personally. People think differently. Everyone is made different and you don’t know what someone else is going through in their own life. So be kind, love plenty and be grateful” - Trish Berdychowska

 

“I no longer feel trapped trying to make others happy or search for validation from someone else. I am so comfortable in my own skin and I feel zero pressure from the outside world. I absolutely LOVE 30. I'm a university dropout, I don't own a house, I'm not married and I don't have children. I make the least amount of money I've ever made in my life. However, I also don't feel pressure to do any different because my life is filled with presence, love, appreciation, fun, adventures, absolutely incredible people, courage, support, so much happiness and a strong sense of self. Yay for 30!” - Natasha Rabe

 

“Turning 30 was a big growing up point for me. It was sort of like no more messing around, I'm ready to make something of myself and get more courageous. I also got really honest about the things that were important to me, primarily friends that pushed me to be better, learning the skills I needed to make my business successful, deliberately changing my exercise & diet routines to find out what's the best long-term” - Ella Mae

 

"My 30's were initially scary due to not being where I wanted romantically, however, I grew into the person I wanted to be in my 30's. Stronger, wiser, more mature and more relaxed about impressing people. I was married this week to my best friend who is 7 years younger(29) and I'm so glad I waited for my soul mate and best friend. " - Ally Grodd

 

My all time favourite product!

It’s very rare that I am blown away by a product, but when I am, I want to share it with the world. 

Now, I'm not going to self diagnose myself, but last year I started having arthritis like symptoms. I didn't think much of it, but my gosh was it ever a frustrating feeling. I would wake up in the morning with really sore joints and stiffness in my hands. Whenever I was shooting, my hands would cramp up really easily.

I love running and I wouldn't want to run when I was in Vancouver because my knees would be so sore, especially in the bone chilling fall and winter months.

When I went backpacking for 8 months last year, I wasn't very healthy. I left for my trip at the tail end of a flu and throughout the trip I would get sick quite often. Anything from a basic cold to a stomach and bacteria infection. I was some form of sick for the majority of the trip. It prevented me from wanting to do a lot of things. When I'm sick, my energy levels aren't there and my enthusiasm changes. I had issues with the food in certain parts of Asia, so I would eat Pringles all day which probably didn't help the situation in having a lack of a nutritious diet. (No offense, Pringles...you're delicious but I was shamefully your #1 customer last year)

At one point last year, I started to get pretty stressed out and my hair was falling out abnormally. Every morning I would wake up with tons of hair on my pillow and all over the floor. (It doesn't help that everything in my apartment was white so my shedding wasn't discreet) On top of that my nails were really thin and breaking quite easily.

One of my goals for this year is to be on top of my health and to really focus on taking care of my body. 

 Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

I was having a conversation with a girlfriend and telling her about my 'issues' and she had recommended withinUs TruMarine Collagen. She had used it and had amazing results. I hadn't realized that the beautifully packaged product that I kept seeing at my favourite spin studio Spin Society was one I would be raving about so much today.  

I read up about the collagen and it sounded too good to be true. 

When it comes to products 'fixing' things i'm extremely skeptical. 

I took 200 sticks of collagen on my trip to Europe. The packaging is perfect for traveling and people who are on the go because each stick is individually wrapped and weighs close to nothing.

 Edinburgh, Scotland 

Edinburgh, Scotland 

One morning I woke up at 5:00am in Edinburgh Scotland to go for a hike to the top of a mountain and catch the sunrise. It was such an amazing morning! I was treated to a gorgeous sunrise and watched the city below wake up. When I reached the top of the mountain, it was the first time I realized that I didn't have the uncomfortable pain I had been experiencing. 

 Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver, Canada

 I've been taking the collagen for 4 months now. Every morning I put 3g (one stick) in my water, juice or coffee, wait for it to quickly dissolve and start my morning! It’s made of 100% Hydrolyzed (fish scale) collagen, but don't worry it doesn’t smell or taste like anything which is a nice bonus. 

I encourage anyone who is having joint pains or issues with their hair, nails or skin to try withinUS TruMarine Collagen It’s been completely life altering for me.

 

 

 Two stick pack containers $100

Two stick pack containers $100

 

I love it so much that I'm giving away a two stick pack containers valued at $100. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instagram contest details: 

1. Follow @withinus_trumarine@nataliaanjaphotography

2. Like this post and tag 3 friends who would also love this collagen in the comment below

3. Repost for multiple entries

* Applicants must have a mailing address in Canada or the US

Contest entries close on Wednesday July 27th at 12pm. Winner is announced Thursday July 28th. Good luck! 

If you've tried the collagen I'd love to hear your experience in the comments below.

 

*Please note I am not paid by any of the brands I post about. I only recommend and suggest products I love and believe in. 

 

Loads of love, 

Natalia xx

 

 

Bhutan - The happiest country in the world. Is it true?

What if your happiness was the most important thing in your country?

It is to the people living in a peaceful nation called Bhutan. A landlocked country in the Himalayas which rather than using GDP, it measures it’s overall health by GNH “gross national happiness”. The four pillars that form GNH are; sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation, and good governance.

 

There are many misconceptions about tourism in Bhutan. To clear it up, you can visit this serene country for a minimum of $250 US a day.

$250 US a day includes the following:

  • Entrance into Bhutan with a tour provider
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Accommodations (whether that is a luxurious hotel, sleeping in tents or at a village farm house. Depending on your preference and curiosity in experiencing culture, there are different tour options to suit each traveler)
  • A private driver
  • An English speaking tour guide
  • Pick up and drop off at the airport 

This price excludes a $40 US Bhutan Visa Fee and your flights.

You have to use a tour company to visit Bhutan. We used Bhutan Mountain Holiday and we were extremely impressed with them. We were picked up at the airport by our driver and a guide whom were extremely informative, kind and fun to be with for 5 days. 

You can watch our entire Bhutan experience here: 

 

9 interesting things about Bhutan: 

  1. Bhutan is the only nation in the world to have banned the sale of tobacco 
  2. Bhutan has stopped using plastic bags since 1999
  3. There is a beautiful monastery devoted to promoting fertility. “Chimi Lhakhang”. While walking to the monastery you see wood carved phalluses painted on homes and  in the windows symbolizing fertility. People from all over the world who have been unable to have children travel to Bhutan to visit this monastery where a monk will treat the couple to a fertility blessing and it in theory helps them in conceiving.
  4. There are no traffic lights in Bhutan
  5. Alongside the road while driving through the mountains, instead of traffic signs telling you to slow down, there are a series of hand painted, positive and funny mantra’s such as “Life is a journey! Complete it!” and “After whiskey, driving risky.”
  6. Bhutan takes protecting their environment very seriously. It absorbs more CO2 than it gives out and it’s apparently the only country whose largest export is renewable energy. 
  7. They call the dogs ‘solar dogs’ because they sleep all day and have an insane about of energy at night. 
  8. Travelling through Asia, I unfortunately saw many stray malnourished dogs on the streets. In Bhutan, most of the stray dogs look healthy and well fed. The people have so much compassion, most dogs live within certain neighbourhoods and rely somewhat on human charity. Due to a dog overpopulation in the past, The ‘Humane Society International’ started a spay, neuter, and vaccination program throughout Bhutan where they have targeted more than 50,000 dogs over six years. 
  9. Perched on the side of a cliff 3000ft above the Paro Valley is the Tiger's Nest (Taktsang). Not only one of the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage places in the world but one of the most challenging to get to. At the time, I thought I was extremely out of shape and embarrassed to be huffing and puffing so much but I was told that we were at an elevation of 10,000 ft (which made me feel a little better about my gasping for air) This was hands down one of the most epic hikes I've ever done. 
NatBhutanTigersnest.jpg

Bhutan was a foreign country to me as I’ve never heard of it prior to seeing it on our Global Degree itinerary last year. I didn’t understand when people told me Bhutan was the ‘happiest’ country in the world. I thought, how can a country label themselves as that? Although, when we arrived at the airport the energy was so positive and light. Everyone was smiling and it was the first airport I had been to that wasn’t hectic. That energy continued on throughout our trip and I felt extremely safe throughout the country. I have to say, the rumours are true ...it may just be the happiest country in the world!

If you’re looking for an authentic cultural experience, a respect for peace, environment and happiness I highly recommend visiting Bhutan! 

 

Loads of love,  Natalia xx

Pardon the

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