Getting Older Is Getting Better
Societal messages do not always speak positively of aging. If we buy into the myths then we can miss some of the best times of our lives. In this article I share the many upsides to getting older.
“Ageing is just another word for living.” – Cindy Joseph
Perhaps you’re old enough to remember the cliché, “You’re not getting older; you’re getting better.” Remember that?
I didn’t pay much attention to the underlying message when I was younger. But now I am older and wiser and more conscious of the subtle messages that try to tell us who we are and what we should value. In the referenced cliché, and many like it, the message is that getting old is not something we should look forward to. And the messages aren’t just found in quotes. They are perpetuated and reinforced in media and the beauty industry, among other places.
Think about what happens as certain birthdays approach. When we turned sixteen, we were ecstatic because we got our driver’s licenses. When we turned eighteen, we could vote. And when we turned twenty-one, we could legally drink alcohol. At least these are the ages and rites of passage in the U.S. But then something happened when we turned thirty. We were no longer in our 20s. That was a considerable age milestone. Then there is “Lordy, Lordy, look who’s Forty.” I remember some people who told me they could handle every birthday in stride until they turned the big 6-0 because that was old.
Why am I focused on age? Because whatever age we are, we are living. And that means life is full of possibilities. We cannot see our lives diminishing, particularly when there is so much more we can achieve, experience, and offer. If we start to close ourselves off because we buy into the myth that we’re “too old,” then we can miss some of the best times of our lives. We must counteract the false messages that imply people depreciate in value and impact as they appreciate in age. Instead, we must embrace our years, all of them, and see getting older as the blessing and opportunity it presents.
When we own our age, we gain more freedom to celebrate every aspect of who we are. Yes, our bodies may change. Our perspectives may change. And even our aspirations and feelings about what matters in life can change. But let us embrace all the good things aging affords us.
6-Plus Benefits of Getting Older:
1. Our children become our friends.
I love this one. It’s so true. After years of raising children and knowing they will always be our children, they also become our friends. And for some, there is the extra bonus of grandchildren.
2. We are smarter and wiser.
The Seattle Longitudinal Study showed that vocabulary, spatial orientation, verbal memory, and problem-solving are better in our 40s and 50s than in our 20s. According to Dr. Gary Small of the University of California Brain Institute, as we age, we benefit from “crystallized intelligence” because of our accumulated life experiences. That intelligence helps to streamline problem-solving. There’s not much we haven’t seen before, and we are good at using what we’ve learned. Also, changes in hormones lead to less emotional and more thoughtful decisions.
3. We are happier and less stressed.
In a United States of Aging Survey, “seniors” are reportedly significantly happier than their middle-aged counterparts. According to a WebMD article, older adults might control their emotions better and learn to focus on what really matters. They also have enough experience to know that most fears and anxieties never come true. Baby boomers and older adults are also less stressed than their younger counterparts.
4. We enjoy better sex.
That’s right! A survey of people over 60 found that 74% of men and 70% of women report greater sexual satisfaction than those in their 40s. In the WebMD article, it was reported that women over 80 were more sexually satisfied than those women between 55 and 79. Some studies attribute increased sexual satisfaction as we age to less stress, fewer worries about pregnancy, comfort with body image, fewer insecurities, greater self-confidence, and familiarity with partners.
5. We have more discretionary time.
Becoming retired and staying active leads to greater life satisfaction. Studies show that older adults have more time to volunteer, pursue hobbies, travel, and spend with family and friends.
6. We are alive!
A quote attributed to American singer Tom Petty says, “If you’re not getting older, you’re dead.” That’s the truth. We are all getting older. And thank God we are. As the opening quote by Cindy Joseph states, Ageing is just another word for living.” Let’s live to the fullest, leaving nothing on the table. Because we are alive, we can pursue our goals and dreams. We can see the wonder and beauty of this world. We can help others on their journeys. And we can live our Aha! Lives.
As we age, we are also kinder and more accepting of others and ourselves. We have greater empathy and more developed social skills. We spend less energy trying to keep up with the Joneses. We are more grateful and more at ease.
The next time you’re feeling any angst about getting older or discovering another wrinkle or gray hair, remember: You’re getting older, AND you’re getting better.
Thanks for reading and being a part of the Your Aha! Life Global Community. I hope you enjoy this article. It’s a great reminder that with every passing year, there is still more to look forward to, and that getting older is getting better. Take good care as you age and enjoy living. Please share the article with your friends.
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My purpose is helping others get to know, believe in, and accept themselves so that they live their best lives – lives with more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment. Their Aha! Life. I’m so grateful you’re on the journey.
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