6 Benefits of Aging
When we think about getting older, we think of aches, pains, hair loss, memory loss, false teeth, and wrinkles. Some may think those are the only things to look forward to. There is this sense of dread with the idea of leaving our youth behind. We are terrified of our body and mind aging and letting us down, all the while, not looking like our chipper young selves in the process. Bette Davis once said that growing old isn't for sissies. Can it really be possible that there is a trade off for the good things we may "lose" for things are better?
The great thing about getting older is that we are a grown version of all of our good and bad traits. Our bad traits, perhaps, aren't as bad anymore because we have spent a lifetime trying to work on things and our good traits are even better. As our bodies and faces get older, God-willing, our minds have the ability to get more beautiful. I would say that is a more than fair trade.
As I write this, I know there are many people that age and time hasn't been kind. We suffer from Alzheimer's, Dementia, and physical ailments that have taken our sense of pride, joy, and independence from us. I know that growing old in mind, body, and spirit can be hard for some. My hope is that we can simply feel a little better about the process while we are all getting older. There are so many people that unfortunately have things that they can't control. It would be a waste to be fairly healthy and not see what a gift old age can be. Someone once said "Do not regret growing older, it is a privilege denied to many". We are all getting older one day/month/year at a time.
Here are some benefits that we may experience as we get older, showing all is not lost when we get crow's feet.
1. You stand up for yourself more when it matters
When I was in my teens and twenties, I would have died before I applied assertiveness. If I was shortchanged at the store, I wouldn't dare say anything. I wouldn't return something to the store out of embarrassment. Embarrassment over what? I have no idea. But asking for things and being comfortable doing so has certainly come with age for me as it does many. I even had my dear friend's mother say she was going to teach me assertiveness when I was young. I probably wouldn't look her in the eye and give her a straight answer when she asked if I wanted a drink or snack and she wanted me to not be afraid. She'd be proud of me today. Assertiveness was out of the question in those days, let alone boundaries. Boundaries are something else I have gotten much better with too. You just get more comfortable and confident in what you want, how you want it, and knowing what is right for you. If that isn't a benefit, I don't know what it.
2. You don't sweat the small stuff
While we learn to stand up for ourselves when it matters, we also simultaneously learn to let smaller things go. We're less likely to not get bent out of shape over the little things and have a better understanding of the big picture. Some people who would be considered "hot-headed" often will mellow out as they get older. Some people get kinder, softer, and more patient. We often know that everyday is a gift and we don't want to waste time on things that don't matter. Once you've lived long enough, you have seen and experienced a lot and that provides perspective.
3. Less time is wasted
It's not necessarily a matter of us getting older and thinking "we're going to die soon, don't waste time", but rather a knowing of how precious time is and always has been. When we are young, we do kind of feel that time is unlimited and we place importance on other things, such as, popularity, brand name clothes, the prom, etc. It's easier to slow down as we get older too and that can be a good thing. It can help us take in the little pleasures in life and we tend to just be happy in our skin. Time is too short to waste it otherwise. The sooner we can learn this the better.
4. Have more experience knowing things will be okay
Often when we are young, the smallest thing is the end of the world. In a lot of ways, it is. Often when we are young, our world is small and our experience is smaller so the small things are big things to us because we have nothing else to compare them to. We also think things in the world are so big. As we get older, things happen. We experience pain, joy, successes, failures, deaths, illness, and fear. Peace comes from knowing that, through it all, you're still here. We develop, not the belief, but the knowing that we will make it through. Does that mean everything has a happy ending? No. It just means that we have a certain peace in knowing that life is full of ebbs and flows and that we hunker down when it's rough and rejoice when we triumph and that those things are equally as important and go hand in hand.
5. More comfortable in your skin
I know that it seems contradictory that as we get to looking older we may feel more comfortable in our skin. However, it is not in the way we may think when we're younger. When we are young, we tend to place so much importance on outside appearance and that we have to "look" perfect. Although we are in a young body with a young face, we may not necessarily feel comfortable in that body. As we get older, we may notice more wrinkles. It's not that we love them, we just don't focus on them as much. As time goes by, we hopefully find that our lives are richer in so many many ways and, although we may miss looking young, we don't miss the pressure we put ourselves under years ago.
6. Better circle of friends
When we are younger, especially when we're teenagers, we tend to "collect" friends. Popularity can be very important to us and we may think we know our friends really well. As life goes on, many of them will not stand the test of time. Even the best of friends sometimes grow apart as life takes them into different directions. However, at whatever age you are now, you may notice you have had one or even a couple friends that have been there all these years. By now, you and your bestie(s) may have graduated, gotten/lost jobs, moved away, gotten married/divorced, had children and are as close as ever, even if you live across the country. The odds are good that if you have a friendship that has lasted well into your adult life, you'll more likely be friends forever. If that isn't a blessing of getting older, I don't know what is.
7. You'll always be you
When we are young, we tend to look in the future our our older selves and see a shriveled-up, helpless, old person who can't do anything and is miserable. The fact is, when we get there, won't we still just be us? It's one thing to look ahead 60 years and feel the sting of what will or may be. Try to look at it different though. The truth is, we will get there as slowly as paint dries and grass grows. We will get there one year, day, second, and breath at a time. During that process, we will earn grow, experience pain and joy. When you get there, it'll just be you as you've always know you. Did you go from being a baby to where you are now overnight? no. You won't wake up one day and be old. You will simply live your life till you are there. Sometimes people will have a mid-life crisis. That is usually somewhere in middle-age when we are stuck between "youth" and being a senior. I wouldn't sweat becoming a senior. I've never heard of a "senior-citizen crisis." Most I know are generally happy and have lots of good years left and they know it.
Share your thoughts!
What do you like most about being the age you are now? What do you miss? Would you trade the good/bad of today to go back?
© 2019 Jess B