There’s a well-kept secret that most people don’t discover until it happens to them. Although some are fortunate to have grown up knowing the reality, many have been kept in the dark. But what a delightful surprise when the truth is finally discovered.
The secret? Growing older can be wonderful.
The reason it’s kept so well is that most people don’t talk about it. With the level of ageism that surrounds our society, growing old is spoken of as if it’s a stigma or at the very least something to be avoided.
But what a gift to finally realize the wonder in what waits around the corner. There are actually many reasons to look forward to aging. But here are 8 that may catch you by surprise.
As we grow older, we not only gain wisdom and experience but we also learn to let go. People often find they’ve been hanging on to so much – worrying about what other people thought, the political positioning at work, the kind of impression made or all the other inconsequential things that rob us of time.
Attitudes seem to get adjusted when the point of view changes. Maybe because there is more behind us in the past, but the world can suddenly look different when we get older and the years pass. And one of the greatest insights is that a meaningful life doesn’t stop at any age.
The earlier years can be confusing as the responsibilities of career, marriage, child-raising and making your way in the world seem to be in constant competition for time and attention. As we grow older, we finally have the time to see what’s really important.
Age seems to boost our sense of confidence and self-assurance. The years of experience are a great teacher. We learn not only the value of something but that many mistakes can be corrected and there can be second chances. We’ve had successes and made mistakes but we’re still here.
As we get older, there’s a sense of security that age can bring. We know that life isn’t quite as fragile as we might have once thought but we’re also smart enough to know it’s almost always better to plan for the future. We don’t want to leave what’s important up to chance.
There’s a different perspective when growing older that we couldn’t see when we were young. We now know that everything isn’t black or white or a catastrophe waiting to happen. As we’ve come to know and like ourselves more, we also recognize our place in the world.
Instead of taking fewer risks when we get older, we actually can become more fearless. We’re better at judging risk and what we’re willing to take on. We also start doing more of what we want and say no more easily, especially if it’s something we don’t value or want to spend our time on.
Although the years no doubt bring about loss of family or friends and opportunities that we may not get back again, the perspective has changed. There is pleasure in smaller things. And not only have we quit sweating the small stuff but we’ve figured out what the small stuff really is.
If a long life is only seen as lonely or of loss, it’s reduced to one dimension. But there is a big picture to life just as there is to a person. As the years go by, lessons are learned and moments of joy experienced. While surrounded by an ageist view of what someone should or should not be able to do at a certain age, we grow smart enough to know it’s our choice and no one else’s.
Life has meaning no matter the age. We get more comfortable as we grow older and see for ourselves that it was often our own limitations that stopped us. And we learn that if we want something to change, we’re the only thing we can control.
But we also learn that life is short so we appreciate it even more. As we discover that there are no guarantees we tend to take less for granted. We adapt to the challenges of aging and continue to be resilient by reframing the problems of life as challenges and believing they can be overcome.
Along with resiliency, there are other skills that make growing older much easier.
At Westminster at Lake Ridge, we know the advantages of keeping both the mind and body active and healthy – and the benefits that social and group activities can bring. We provide a full calendar of social, recreational, educational, cultural and spiritual programs in all of our communities.
We offer everything you’ll need for a fulfilling and engaging lifestyle including first-class fitness and health facilities, nutritious chef-prepared meals and a wide variety of cultural, social and entertainment options.