Recently, I celebrated my birthday. I’m only a few short years away from the big 4-0. It doesn’t really bother me, so I started to think about why. I think I discovered a few really good reasons why I’m okay with getting older.
As someone who has always had a pretty healthy fear of death, you might assume I dread getting older. On the contrary, getting older isn’t so bad. I’m mostly okay with it. If you don’t think about what it leads to, of course. Here’s why.
5 reasons getting older isn’t so bad.
1. The valuable components of life keep stacking up.
As each year passes, I seem to accumulate more things to value and appreciate. I don’t mean things as in possessions and achievements. Things as in real, valuable pieces of life. What life is made of.
In the past ten years I’ve become a wife and a mother. We’ve adopted two crazy and adorable dogs. I have my health and the health of my family.
The stuff we value in our younger years is nothing compared to what shows up as we get older.
2. There is more stability in life.
In addition to those listed above, I also have accumulated stability. No more bouncing from job to job. Virtually all areas of my life are stable. My career, love life, family, and finances. There’s little fluctuation these days.
The same cannot be said for our younger years. When you’re young, you don’t know what you want to do for a living. You bounce from job to job looking for the right fit. You may not yet have a house and wish you did, or be struggling on entry level wages as you try to work your way up in your industry.
As you age, these things level out a bit, as long as you are consistently moving forward and don’t allow yourself to stop trying when you’re young.
3. I no longer think “What’s next” all the time.
These days, I pretty much know what’s next. There are no huge decisions to be made anymore. I’ve found a spouse, decided on children, purchased a home, and found a career.
Since I’m not constantly dwelling on the next big decision, my brain feels so much freer. I can focus on whatever I want! It’s usually my kid and I’m usually interrupted about 1,000 times an hour, but it’s still better. None of my decisions are very heavy ones anymore.
When you’re young, you’re constantly thinking about what’s next. What college to go to, field to major in, company to work for, person to date, getting married, having kids…. It’s a never-ending flow of questions. And then one day it just stops. It is incredibly liberating to just be in your life while it’s happening, and not always worrying about the next step.
4. You have tons of reasons to relive childhood joys and magic.
I couldn’t wait to have kids because I remember how much magic there was in everything. When you’ve viewed the world with grown-up eyes for so long, it’s hard to remember what that was like. Having kids lets you see the world through a child’s lens.
I get to experience all of the excitement through Zach. Seeing him light up at things he’s never seen before or doesn’t yet understand the mechanics of gives me back a little of that wonder.
Even better, I know it will happen again once I am a grandparent. I’ve seen it with my own parents. They have this joy at the holidays and watching Zach experience something for the first time that I don’t think they’ve had since my sister and I were kids!
5. I get to view each year as a gift .
As you get older, each year becomes more valuable. You’ll slowly lose loved ones as time goes on, including pets. When you’re young, you don’t generally experience as much of that. You become very aware of how precious life is.
When you’re young, you’re too busy having fun and learning new things and making big decisions. You aren’t really thinking about the passing of each year as a real reason to celebrate. To celebrate not only everything you’ve done and experienced, but that you’ve been here for one more year. That’s a gift some people lose far too early.
Each year that passes I’m reminded that I’m so lucky to have been able to experience everything I did with my one more year. And I’m grateful for it all. Especially my health.
So each year as I get older, I try to live with purpose and appreciation, rather than naive, self-involvement of youth. I try to do good, help others, and be authentic to myself. Because we only get to do this once.
Getting older only limits you as much as you let it.
Getting older isn’t so bad, it really isn’t. As evidenced by my 90 year old grandmother who’s living more life each year than all of her grandchildren combined.
As with most things in life, getting older only limits you as much as you let it. Take care of your mind and body, help others, be yourself and enjoy the ride. We’re only here for so long. No matter what your thoughts are on the end of the journey, don’t let yourself ruin it with your fears.
Just keep living, loving, playing and being grateful for every day.