Warning! This is a feel good alert to those who are middle-aged and dreading those not-so-distant ‘golden years’: There are some really good things about getting older.
I am happier now than I have been in a very long time. No, I didn’t win the lottery, yet, nor did I make it to the cover of Vogue, yet. But as another year begins, the realization that another birthday is on its way would, in the past, get to me. But not anymore. See, I’m happier already.
Sure, I still notice that extra wrinkle here and there or that aches and pains come around a little more frequently than before. But that’s because women are very conscious about losing their youth and looks. And that’s because we were conditioned to focus on looking pretty ever since we became teenagers and wanted desperately to look like the models in Glamour magazine.
The problem with this is that our looks will fade away. Ever run into someone you went to high school with who looked about 15 years older than you? Or worse, the person who was still trying to look 21 at 56? Like it or not we age from the moment we’re born, but this can be much easier when we start to focus on our new freedoms, like a ‘bill of rights’ for getting older. Here’s mine.
As I reviewed my life on New Year’s Eve, I looked back and saw that I did many wonderful things I never imagined I would do. Aging has given me renewed confidence to try more new things because I have learned that if I fail, the stars will still come out at night. I learned to look at the effort made and not the result achieved. How refreshing it is to focus on doing something, rather than outdoing somebody.
As a brand new retiree, I have been given the gift of freedom to spend my days however I want, although life is much busier now than when I was working. The difference is that I am in control of my time and I only pursue those opportunities, adventures and relationships that are good for me or someone who needs my help. For the first time in a very long time, my life has a new rhythm and purpose and my stress level is lower than a baritone at the Met.
My favorite thing about aging is that I no longer worry about what other people think of me. Youth really is wasted on the young, who depending on their stage in life, might anguish over every word or perceived negative glance from a peer. Not so when you’re middle-aged. The trade off is you get acquired empowerment instead of much needed approval.
Life is good and beautiful gets redefined. Just ask my husband.
Do I detect a smile?