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 40 Over 40 for 2024
12
Adela Najarro

 

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"Don't criticize yourself about how you look. Realize you are beautiful, just the

way you are. And if those negative voices arise, which they will, negate it. Repeat, 'I am beautiful, smart, sexy, amazing,' and all other descriptors about your true self, over and over and then once more."

AGE: 61


PROFESSION: Writer

What is the best thing about being your age?

There is no such thing as age. At my core, I'm still an eight-year girl, a teenager, and all the other versions of who I am. We get our lifetimes to develop into our true selves and each day is another page in a long and complex book.

What hardships have you endured that you feel have made you stronger?

It's true: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but I wouldn't advise searching for adversity and hardship. Try to live your best life because things always happen. You can turn around and find everything falling apart. You can also find how to keep going, how to find new paths, how to rebound and experience joy and love.

 

What's your favorite thing you have checked off your bucket list?

My bucket list calls for the basics: create a vibrant life full of love where I'm also financially stable. So, my bucket list doesn't include going to Paris (though I might end up there or Fiji or a small village in Spain). I can pay my own way. After kissing many toads, I found my prince, who is charming in his complex, vulnerable, and beautiful way. I have friends, family, colleagues at work, and connections in the art and writing communities. I go to church and praise God since I'm grateful for all that I encounter. I buy flowers often. I love chocolate. The main item on my bucket list is to live each day in praise and wonder, though I do get very tired and sometimes binge Netflix.

What advice would you give your younger self?

You look your best, right now. So don't worry about it! Remember that you are a beautiful, smart, strong, and creative powerhouse!

What is your motto or favorite quote?

My motto is "Don't let the bastards get you down; be fearless, and guilt is a useless emotion."

I realized the uselessness of guilt first. We will make mistakes as we act in the world, but guilt is a festering hurt that never goes away. The best thing to do is forgive ourselves for our mistakes and then move forward. It also helps to realize that so much of the trouble that comes our way is not our doing but outside ourselves. It's not our fault. Walk away, and don't validate those who hurt you.

 

Most of all, don't be afraid. What can happen? Death? Then it's over, and you get to discover what happens next! Fear folds us into little pockets of neverending pain, so break free and discover the complexities of existence.

Words of wisdom to younger women

I hate my pictures. (Well, except the ones Jana took!). I mean that every time I look at a picture, I criticize what's there. I'm too fat. My hair looks awful. Why did I think that outfit looked good? I've done that my whole life. But since I've been around for a while, when I look at those same pictures five, ten, fifiteen years later, I realize that I looked great! All that negative garbage in my head was wrong and is wrong.

 

Don't criticize yourself about how you look. Realize you are beautiful, just the way you are. And if those negative voices, arise, which they will, negate it. Don't believe the negative, even the negative you tell yourself. Repeat, I am beautiful, smart, sexy, amazing, and all other descriptors about your true self, over and over and then once more.

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