Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who was complaining about the aging process. She didn’t like the weight gain, the circles under her eyes, the way her hair was changing and so on. I get it. I have been there as well. But about five years ago, I decided to take a different approach to aging. I decided to take a positive point of view about getting older.
Here are the 10 reasons why I have learned to embrace and even love the aging process.
1. You learn to make wiser decisions.
It is true that as we age, we gather more experience. We are wiser as a result of the varied experiences we have had through the years. Yes, I am sure we can name a few folks out there who have aged and seem to make the same silly mistakes and decisions. Let’s put those folks in the “exception that makes the rule” category, and say that as you age, you do become wiser and make better decisions based on your life experience. Your life experience is invaluable and becomes even more valuable as you age.
2. You learn to listen to that inner voice.
How many times have you heard that inner voice tell you, “don’t make that decision”, “don’t date that guy”, “don’t accept that job” etc., and ignored it? I know I have done that many times. But I also know that as I have aged, I have learned to listen to that voice. After 58 years, I know what happens if I don’t. The results are always a “hot mess”. That inner voice you have is valuable and you begin to realize how important it is as you age.
3. You learn to know what you like.
I can remember trying a little bit of everything (well, almost everything) when I was a young adult. I mean, why not? Once I had children I found myself doing a lot of things that I didn’t really enjoy, but they had to be done. I decided that when my children were grown up, I would live my life doing what ultimately gives me joy. It is great to have that freedom to choose to live your life in a way that brings you a feeling of great satisfaction. I find this to be one of the best things about the aging process – knowing and doing what I enjoy.
4. You learn to say “This too shall pass”.
With youth comes the drama of “oh my gosh, and oh my goodness” for just about anything that wasn’t according to plan. Remember the drama of the 20’s? What about the turbulence of the 30’s? It’s not that we don’t have challenges and yes “drama” in our lives as we age. What we have extra is the breadth and depth of experience that reminds us that if we got through all the challenges of our younger years, we most certainly will get through whatever else life challenges. One thing I have learned as I have aged is that nothing last forever. Unfortunately, good things come and good things go. Fortunately, the same is true for bad things too!
5. You learn the value of silence.
I used to think that after having four daughters, silence was when all of them were quiet and only the radio in the car was going. I recall when they would spend the night at a friend’s house or out on the day at some activity. I just had to turn on the TV or radio, just to feel the silence. This is no longer true. I have taken the time to learn the value of silence. It took me awhile to calm my little “energizer bunny” personality down long enough to understand the value of silence. But now that I do, I truly enjoy the “sound” of no sound. Silence gives me time for reflection, time to listen to God’s voice and time to just be. Our minds and spirits are renewed, re-energized and refreshed, when we take the time to be silent.
6. You learn your strengths and weaknesses.
As I grow older, I am really learning where my true talents, skills, and passions lie. I love taking the time to do the things I do well. I value the skills with which God has blessed me. I have learned how to leverage those strengths in a way that I didn’t know how to do when I was younger. As we age, we begin to value those things about who we are, that are strong and resilient. Also, we learn to no longer be afraid of our weaknesses. Our weaknesses represent an opportunity for further growth. It is important as we age to still keep learning, to keep growing, to keep being engaged and motivated to be the best that we can be.
7. You learn the importance of staying present.
I can remember spending so much time thinking about the past, future – about everything except what is going on in my present. As we age we become more aware of the here and now. This is a good thing. No longer taking for granted the present is just another benefit of growing older and wiser. It is healthy to be aware of what is going on around us, to really enjoy the present.
8. You learn the value of gratitude.
There is so much I can say about practicing gratitude. I have learned how powerful it is to remember to be thankful and grateful, even for the smallest things. It is wonderful to recognize the importance of gratitude as we age. This practice gives us faith, keeps us optimistic, opens up new opportunities for gratefulness, and always reminds us of how blessed we are.
9. You learn to trust the process.
One of the many benefits of getting older and wiser is that you truly do understand that we have very little control over what happens in our lives. Much of what happens in our lives is beyond our control. We have learned the valuable lesson that if we have made it through a rough period before, we can make it through a rough period again. Over time, we begin to learn that we have to trust the process.
10. You learn what a blessing it is to still be.
It is a fact of life that as we age, we have friends and family who depart from this life. We realize how truly precious each day is – how truly precious life is. Many times we get preoccupied with events that happen in our life or around us, that are negative. We forget to be grateful for all the wonderful experiences life has brought us. If we are still alive we are still living… and that is a blessing.