Why Getting Older Should Be Embraced Instead of Feared
The Wisest People I Know and Admire are All Older Than I Am
The Stigma of Aging
Growing up, I couldn't wait for my next birthday. First I was five, then ten, then fifteen years old! At eighteen I got my license and at twenty-one I could legally drink!
(Ironically, that is also when I got sober, but that is another story for another time.)
After twenty-one, I started getting that same looming feeling that I have heard all my life, "it's all downhill from here."
Not only has that been proven untrue, but I have found that life is quite the opposite, at least for me.
Why do so many people fear a thing which should be embraced fully? Growing up is the journey of life, not a death sentence. If you spend all of your time fighting the invevitable, you may just miss the time of your life.
I find it ironic that I spent years and years running from the person I truly was, the person I was meant to be, in some vain attempt to "fit in with the cool kids" because now that I am older and no longer have the strength to run from myself, I have found out that I am a pretty cool chick.
This Clip from the Movie Up Captures the Beauty of Being Able to Grow Old with Those You Love
Do you lie about your age?
Myths About Getting Older
Here are some common misconceptions associated with aging:
- Getting old hurts (in a 2009 Pew Research Study, participants ranging in age from 18 to 60 reported feeling a larger number of years younger than their actual age the older they got)
- Getting old makes you forget things (verbal and math abilities and spatial and abstract reasoning all improve in middle age)
- Getting old is depressing (a number of studies have all found that while happiness dips in the 40s, people start to feel more content with life after the age of 50)
- Getting older means getting lonelier (there are numerous studies that have concluded that an empty nest actually allows for increased marital satisfaction)
- As you age you have less and less control over your destiny ("One may have greater personal control over one's biopsychosocial health after retirement than previously recognized," concluded a study conducted over a 60-year period, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.)
Age is Just a Number - To Grow Up You Don't Need to Get Old
Health Benefits Associated with Growing Older
The old adage "with age comes wisdom" isn't just something people say - it's a phrase based on significant scientific evidence. Of course there are always those exceptions, the ones who never grow up, but for most of us, with time comes a stronger mind, a healthier brain, and yes, more wisdom.
Although many people feel like they get increasingly forgetful with age, studies have shown that problem solving skills, your capabilities to understand and comprehend information, as well as your judgement skills all improve as we age.
Not only do you become wiser as you get older, you also become healthier physically in many ways!
Research is still exploring this medical mystery, but those who suffer from chronic migraines seem to recover completely by their late 50s and early 60s. People who have struggled with insomnia throughout their life report less trouble sleeping once they hit their 60s and by their 70s, most sleep soundly every night.
Remember when you turned 40 and felt 80? Well research shows that those in their 60s, 70s and 80s report feeling anywhere from 5 to 20 years younger than they actually are! A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 60 percent of the study’s participants age 65+ said they felt 10-19 years younger than their age.
A CBS News Story on the Benefits of Getting Older
What is your outlook on aging?
Why You Should Embrace the Aging Process
Aging is the process of life. If growing old isn't our purpose on this planet, then what is it? Sure, some say it is to leave a positive footprint on the world, to make a difference, etc., etc., but we can't do any of that the second we pop out of the womb.
With every year that passes, we get the gift of one year of experiences, one year of lessons learned, and one year to become a better person, to be who we want to be; even every day!
I look forward to the future, because although there have been times in my life where I feared getting older, today I embrace it. The people who I look up to the most are wise individuals with a plethora of life experience.
Yes, I have made many mistakes (some larger than others), but today I realize that mistakes are not mistakes - they are obstacles, they are lessons. The more we know, the more we can grow - the caveat is that we must be open to change.
When life can't seem to cut you a break, know that there is nothing you can't tackle (including the pain that comes with realizing something is not able to be accomplished at this particular moment).
We set our own limitations. We define how high we rise, and how fast we can soar. We can choose to fear growth, fear change, and risk never becoming wiser for taking the risk, or we can embrace the journey of life, a life that includes growing old.
For those older than me, odds are you are chuckling at the thought that I even think I have anything figured out yet, and you are probably right. For those younger than I am, you are probably thinking that I wrote this just to comfort myself as I, indeed, get older.