Getting older often gets a bad reputation. Growing older can be the most fulfilling time of life. I surround myself each day of my aging process with a bubble of optimism. Here are five reasons to embrace getting older:
- 1. Acceptance: Passing the age of 60 comes with learning to accept and love yourself and others for who you and they are. It’s very freeing to realize you don’t have to compete with people who are younger than yourself in many areas, especially in the looks department. Getting older means having had time to realize no one is perfect and that you don’t have to be. If you wear no makeup to put out the garbage, who cares? Chances are only you cared about it in the first place, and now you don’t need to care either.
- 2. Forgiveness: Getting older means you should be able to forgive yourself of the mistakes you made earlier in life. Getting older probably also means you are more willing to forgive and forget mistakes others have made. Let the worst of the past go and cling to the good memories. Yes, some people may have treated you badly, but they are older, now, too. That doesn’t mean if someone is still treating you poorly, you should continue to allow it, but if both of you are better people — and most of us do grow and evolve in to better people — explore forgiving and forgetting the past.
- 3. Being Settled: Being settled means you probably are in the place where you want to live. It means by now you know if you want to live with or without someone, as it suits you. It may mean feeling secure in what you have. It doesn’t mean giving up hoping for the best, but it might mean learning to be content with what you have. It doesn’t mean giving up or not facing new challenges. On the contrary, getting older is exactly the right time to try something new, but it also means being happy with the way your life turned out. It means feeling comfortable with your home, your religious beliefs, and your past or present quality of work, among other things. Seek contentment, rather than worrying about what might have been. Learn from the myriad lessons of life and seek to find the sweet spot in them. Life is a journey toward self realization; learn the lessons your life has given you.
- 4. Friendships: If you have kids, now that your kids are grown, you have more time to explore the friendship aspect of your spouse, if you have one. You worked as a team on others’ lives; now work on your own connections. Whether you are single or not, do explore friendships with other people. No one person can ever be all things to one person, and it’s unhealthy to expect that one person to fulfill you in every way. I’m not giving anyone the green light for infidelity here. Explore other kinds of relationships and friendships. If your spouse doesn’t like your particular hobby, find other friends with whom to do those things. One of you may like baseball, and the other may like museums. Expand your circle of friendships, so everyone can enjoy life to the fullest.
- 5. Freedom: Freedom is the greatest aspect of getting older. For many, it means retirement and freedom from working. Whether retired or not, it likely means more time for hobbies and interests. It may mean more time to take the cooking course you never had time for, or investing time in a garden, or volunteering at a local soup kitchen, or giving other valuable service to others. Aging means freedom to do more of what you want and less of what you don’t. It means having time to reflect, and it means time to experience self-fulfillment. Look inward, in other words, for all five of these reasons that life gets better, and reach outward for those things you may find wanting. Make your older age the best age you have had by looking at these five positives in this stage of your life. Happiness and contentment can give you a longer, more fulfilling, life. Love your present, and live your life for all it is worth.