The Benefits of a Few More Years
Let me start by saying that on most days, I feel like a kid. I’m often surprised if someone calls me “ma’am” and not “miss” and I wonder why I’m not carded more often. I am also stunned that AARP has started sending me solicitations. (Clearly, they must have me confused with someone else.) Honestly I’m not sure when or how it happened, but somehow I find myself on the other side of 50. (51 to be exact.) And here’s the thing…Contrary to how I thought I’d feel, I’m loving every moment!
I realize that I may be in the minority. After all, our society places tremendous value on youth and there is certainly more media attention given to the drawbacks of growing more “seasoned.” (Note: I don’t like to use the word “older.” I think “seasoned” is a more accurate and honorable description.) Believe me, I get it. From my memory to my waistline, not everything is exactly as it used to be. But from where I’m sitting, there’s a lot more upside to having a few more years under my belt than most blogs, tweets and posts let on. Read on for a “glass half-full” look at what you can count on with each coming year.
Priorities – With more years come more “light bulb” moments – not the least of which is a clarity about what is truly important. For some people, there is a shift toward a better work-life balance, along with the realization that there is life beyond the office. For others, less importance placed on “things” and more importance on experiences. For me, finding my tribe and spending time with those that matter most has become increasingly important. While your priorities are uniquely yours, the one thing we share in common as we age is the movement toward greater ease and fulfillment.
Self-Acceptance –The reality is that as we mature, we care less about what others think. Many of us let go of who or what we thought we were supposed to be and come to accept who and what we actually are. The game of “compare and despair” often becomes a thing of the past and is replaced with a deeper understanding about our true value. We become more forgiving of our “flaws,” more easily acknowledge our accomplishments and in general, make friends with the person staring us in the mirror.
Triggers – Just as fine wine mellows with age, so do people. At a certain point we come to understand that life is short and that we are all doing the best that we can. We stop expecting life and other people to be perfect and, in general, are less triggered when they are not. We learn to accept that certain events and circumstances are out of control and waste less energy on anger, resentment and disappointment. Think of water rolling off a duck’s back…That’s the beauty of a few more years.
Experiences – We’ve all heard the expression that with age, comes wisdom. There’s a reason for it. Those of us with a gray hair or two have done more, seen more and just simply, lived more. As result we’re got more experiences to draw upon and are therefore better able to navigate life’s many ups and downs (and make better decisions in the process). While I sometimes think “I wish I knew then what I know now,” I am grateful for every bump in the road, as every experience offered an opportunity for growth.
Self-Care – It may be out of necessity or what I believe is a greater sense of self-love and appreciation. Either way as we age, we take more time for – and take better care of – ourselves. Diet, exercise, and our over-all health and well-being become more important. We pay better attention to the needs of our body and soul in a way that we may not have years earlier. The “luxury” of self-care becomes a necessity and we don’t apologize for it or the desire to look, feel and be our best.
So if you are a youngin’ reading this article, look at all you have waiting for you! And if you’re someone that’s a bit more seasoned…Be grateful and enjoy all the benefits that come along with the territory. To quote Cameron Diaz, “I feel that aging is a privilege. I think that it’s something that I feel very honored that I get to do.”