Question of the Day: What Are The Benefits of Getting Older

Question of the day: What are the benefits of aging?

I was thinking this morning about how aging is hard on the body, and made a list of all the complaints I had. When I ran out of things for the list, I read it and thought, “Man what a whiny cry baby you are!” Because I have such a good life right now, so much more to be happy about and grateful about than I do to complain about. I decided to work a Question of the Day into the list, and not write about all the complaints, just list the good parts, the things I’m grateful for and happy about.

Things I’ve realized with age.

1. All the advice to take care of your health when you’re young was good advice. It’s too bad that so many of us, myself included, thought we were immortal until our bodies reminded us that some of the choices we made weren’t so good for us.

2. Letting go of some things becomes easier with age and perspective. It’s kind of a broad overused term, but I’m not sure I can think of a similar, accurate term. Letting go can be coupled with forgiveness for some. If I let go of a misdeed toward me on someone’s part, I’ve always thought of that as forgiveness, because their behavior no longer affects me. Not that what they did was right, just that it doesn’t matter any more. Is that forgiveness? I’m not sure, really. Maybe true forgiveness requires an apology for the misdeed, and remorse, and repair in order for us to achieve the actual state of forgiveness. The thing is, you will probably never get that from most people. Is accepting that you won’t get that apology, remorse, and repair really forgiveness? I don’t know. But letting it go works for me. I have a pretty clear idea of who I am and what I can accept and who other people are and what they are capable of. So, for instance, I can let go of my ex’s horrible behavior toward me, all his myriad misdeeds, because I set myself up mentally, emotionally, and financially so that he no longer affects me. What he did to me doesn’t matter, and in the end, I think that’s all forgiveness does. It puts you in a place where you have taken your own power back. So, I’m not sure forgiveness comes easier with age, but letting go of many things that were toxic, or hurtful, or just no longer useful, or kept you tied to a place you didn’t want to be has gotten easier with age.

3. Friends, real friends, are important. I love getting together with my girlfriends for my writers group. I love going out for coffee with them. I moved to Florida, leaving wonderful friends up north, but determined to make a new circle of friends here, and have done it. I’m grateful for that.

4. Another thing I hoped would happen is that the man I’d dreamed about for so long would show up in my life. I hadn’t quite let go of the past when I moved here, but after about 9 months, I shut the door on the ridiculous drama that I’d been involved in, and as soon as I did, Dan walked through the door that opened when I shut the old one. Literally, within days.

5. Dreams don’t have to fall away just because you are aging. I dreamed of having a boat when I retired, of spending time on the water. I kind of just let that dream go when I got divorced, and accepted that that part of my life was in the past. But here I am, with this awesome man, and we have a nice boat, just big enough for the two of us. Was it was law of attraction, all those years when I thought that a boat would be there for me in my retirement? Maybe it is just the universe working in my behalf, as it’s done so many times.

6. Family. It can get harder and easier at the same time as we age. You know the old saying that blood is thicker than water, but also has a lower boiling point. Well, I guess that’s true, but as I get older I am way more understanding of the fact that having family nearby and close emotionally is such a blessing, probably because I lived most of my life without my family of origin nearby. Living near my older sister is wonderful. I wish my son were closer, but he’s creating a nice little life for himself. I talk to him every day, and he’s coming to see me next month for a few days.

These are things that I think are blessings of getting older, that come with the wisdom and wealth of experiences of aging. I’d love to hear from you all what additions you’d make to this list.

Love and light to you all.

4 responses to “Question of the Day: What Are The Benefits of Getting Older

  1. I enjoyed reading your list. It’s concrete; it’s something to live by.

    Mine is a bit more poetic/cryptic (so not as useful). Perhaps, extemporising:
    – time is inevitable, there is no point looking forward to anything. The future will come when it comes. So there’s just today.
    – regret saps.
    – no two days are really comparable, so there’s no point comparing.
    – at the end of the day, you have to face yourself (body, mind, soul) and no one can ease that burden so make sure it’s not a burden (you can’t carry).
    – each day lived leaves you one day richer, wiser, even if you don’t think so at first.
    – it is worth saying that kind word, holding that door, and having that laugh with some stranger. You’ll part but you’ll always have the laugh.

  2. Shutting the door on drama opened a door for Dan to walk through! I love the timing there. It wasn’t long after I forgave my ex that David found me. This is a good question about the benefits of aging. I am better at listening to my body’s clues. I’m better at not letting things bother me quite as much because I know that things work out in the big picture. Or at least I catch myself worrying and move on. I would sum this up as gaining perspective. I also have more self discipline when I choose to. I feel like I’m becoming more authentic and grateful.

  3. I the timing thing too. It’s one of the lessons I’ve learned that I wouldn’t trade, that when you really close one door because it just doesn’t work for you, another one opens. Often the right one. Yes, aging is really about gaining perspective on things, with a bigger picture for a frame of reference. I never thought about gratitude coming because of aging, though I can see that that contributed to it. My own journey taught me to look at the difficult times in my life with gratitude, because I wouldn’t have learned the lessons I’ve learned without those really difficult times. That old adage that I’m grateful for my struggles because I discovered my strengths.

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting JoAnna. I always look forward to your thoughtful insight.

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