swimming woman

swimming woman

As always, we’ve noticed amazing reader stories in the comments section, and we wanted to share the love. Here are 12 reader comments on living your best life…

On food traditions:

“My partner and I have taken to buying a fancy new cheese once a month, then eating it in a bath together. The catch is that our tub is tiny and we are tall, so it adds a dash of sheer hilarity as we try to origami our limbs together without throwing out our backs. Anything for cheese.” — Allie

“I’m Eurasian, but don’t speak Cantonese, like my mother’s family. I am also white-passing. I grew up with a lot of people doubting my heritage: ‘Really?! You’re Chinese? Are you sure? You don’t really look Chinese. I guess in the eyes…’ One of the only ways I could ‘prove’ my Asian-ness was by the way I ate. Chicken’s feet? Yes. Jellyfish? Yes. Dousing everything with red vinegar? Yes. That even became the joke with my family: ‘She may not speak Chinese. She may not look Chinese. But she can sure eat Chinese!’ — Meghan

“To celebrate my retirement a couple years ago, I invited 25 friends to a toast party where we would ‘eat toast and make toasts.’ I had three toasters set up, several loaves of good bread and various toppings (both sweet and savory), juice, coffee and tea. It was a big success and easy to set up. The self-service aspect meant I could mingle with my guests.” — Hattie

On embracing your body:

“I’m about to elope in the ‘biggest’ body I’ve ever been in. (Thanks ‘love’ pounds!) The back of my mind wants to obsess and over-exercise before the big day. I have flashes of cold feet, wondering if I should postpone it for a year, just to see if I’m more fit by then. But then the other half of my brain realizes how ridiculous, shallow and self-absorbed the first, self-sabotaging half of my brain sounds. As an extra push for me to accept this fiancé-loving body I’m in, I’m getting my first ever boudoir photoshoot prior to the jump.” — Nicole

“I’ve realized recently that I see my body and its functions as a little kid — innocent and just kind of there. If I eat too much and exercise too little, it gets a bit smooshy and my hip goes wonky. Not my body’s fault! I eat crap and get zits — not my skin’s fault! So, when I hear people say they hate their bodies, I feel so sad, like they’re saying they hate an innocent kid. I want to say, PLEASE please don’t hate your body! It’s just there; you gotta love and take care of it because it loves YOU.” — Agnes

On canine rituals:

“I’m in Oregon and walk our golden retriever at least a couple times a day. I don’t wear earbuds — I like to hear his dog tags jangle; the clickety-clack of his paws on pavement; the rapid way his nose sniffs when he catches a scent; the view of his fluffy butt and feathery tail swishing back and forth.” — Jennifer

“My dog, Loretta, is 15, and I’ve walked her every day. It has changed my relationship with everyday nature. We put ’72 and sunny’ on a pedestal, but the aliveness of below zero, the softness of deep snow and the feeling of rain are sooo underrated.” — Jules

On different chapters:

“The most amazing woman I have ever known retired from a journalism career at 62 and promptly enrolled in law school. She practiced law until she was 94 and died a year later. It is never too late.” — Libby

“At 43, I decided I was going to learn how to ride a bike. I’d had a difficult childhood, during which I just shelved it. But on my 43rd birthday, I decided I was done avoiding it and got a bike. I fell, I was scared and embarrassed, but I did it. Now I can ride my bike and it means so much more to me than if I would have learned as a kid.” — J.

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I let a fear of vulnerability, or failure, or an uncertain career path talk me out of it. But this year, I’m writing all the time! I told myself that I’m a writer if I write — who cares about all the other stuff like readership, publishing, even a career change. With all that pressure off, I’m having the most fun finding my voice, thinking of just wild, silly things I can write about.”

On loving yourself and others:

“A few of my most treasured practices are:
– Putting my hand on my partner’s back right after I turn out the lights at night and thinking of the ways I am grateful for him.
– When I’m with my toddler, I’ll sometimes remind myself to just be fully present in his tiny delightfulness. I’ll run my finger along his ear, arm, chubby fingers, perfect toes (etc, etc, etc) and think to myself ‘I made this.’
Both of these things help ground me, which has been really helpful over this past year when I find myself ruminating over the past/future.” — C.

“I discovered a ‘trick’ years ago to help give value to myself. It involves visualizing my future self holding tight to my present self. We often talk about taking care of our inner child, and it helps right? Well, if I can make my former self feel understood and loved, then I can imagine my future self caring for me right now this very moment. It’s the giving and receiving of love from these past and future selves that truly makes me feel less unsure. Growth never stops.” — Stacy

What would you add to the list?

P.S. 12 feel-good reader comments and 14 reader comments on rituals.

(Photo by Stocksy/Bonnin Studio.)