We are no strangers to the fact that aging comes with many pros and cons. It’s best to remember that age is just a number and that’s it. Most important, do not waste time on the demise of your youth. We can reframe things differently if we choose. We can choose to embrace aging with an understanding that we have probably spent the first 50 years in a hurry with little time, wisdom, or awareness about what it all meant. Because during those years, our focus was on function not appreciation. So next time you notice yet another spot or new wrinkle, ignore it.
Instead, focus on the many positives associated with moving into a brand new, and potentially very rich, phase of your life.
Here are 10 mindful reasons older is happier, and why you should embrace aging:*
1. SHARED EXPERIENCES ARE BETTER
Shared experiences are more enriching than experiencing things on our own, and ultimately make us happier. They also add yet another layer of fond memories to our life. We no longer focus on the material things, or social influences such as a Porsche or fancy jewelry, to make us happy (well, some of us, anyway).
2. NEAR ENOUGH IS NOW GOOD ENOUGH
When we embrace aging, we get to a stage where we throw unrealistic expectations out the window and look for situations that are suitable to our life. This doesn’t mean we drop the bar, though. Concessions and acceptance are a key element as we age.
3. POSITIVE THINKING IS MORE PREVALENT
As we get older, we tend to think more positively. (Well, not all of us, but then we won’t tolerate those “glass half empty” people as much.) This could be for numerous reasons, one of which is that we realize we’re not getting any younger; we want to live the best life we can in the time we have. Appreciation is key here.
4. NEGATIVE MEMORIES DECREASE
We tend to recall positive memories and conveniently ditch the negative ones. There is no point in recounting the bad things in our past, as we can’t do anything about them. Of course, this is easier said than done. As we age, there are so many more memories to choose from, so we can choose to focus on the positive ones.
5. APPRECIATION INCREASES
Our appreciation for our surroundings increases with age. We notice little improvements that make big differences in our lives, such as better-quality washing powder and easy-to-use kitchen aids – the types of things that mean we spend less time doing mundane chores and more on the things we love.
6. TRUSTING IS EASIER
What is the point in not trusting others? What kinds of emotions does distrust invoke? Usually, not positive ones. To embrace aging is to decide to trust a little more. This opens the door to all sorts of new experiences, new friendships, and new knowledge.
7. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE IMPROVES
Our emotional intelligence improves with age. Getting older increases our ability to let go of negative emotional reactions to situations, and deal with those feelings in more productive ways.
Further, the capacity to regulate our reactions greatly improves our mental wellbeing.
8. HEALTH BECOMES SIGNIFICANTLY MORE IMPORTANT
We have no choice but to recognize the importance of eating the right food and exercising regularly. Friends begin losing family members to diseases such as cancer, and this is our wake-up call to positively change our lifestyle.
9. NETWORKS HAVE A HIGHER VALUE
We really get how important our work and social networks are.
10. WE LEARN REFLECTION
We want to be efficient with the time we have left – something we keenly realize is unknown. This bittersweet understanding means the good things really stand out. We don’t want to live out the sins of our parents or repeat our own mistakes. We get better at looking at our actions from another’s point of view, at taking a step back, and considering how our behavior might be perceived by another.
*Portions reprinted from: https://slowaging.org/embrace-aging/