Editor's Blog

Upsides to Aging: 10 Reasons Getting Older is Great


When does time itself become a nemesis to defeat? When does the aging that attends it become a process we have to race to resist? These large shifts to competing with time’s passage as we mature can happen just after we turn twenty-five, when a young person gives us a sincere "Yes, ma'am" or "Yes, sir" in deference, or when we discover, perhaps with horror, a strand of gray on our head. The change varies by individual. Some people view getting older as extremely natural and a palatable notion. Others find the realization of it and the mere idea difficult to accept.

Because of pressures from our immediate environment or images in media, we can be at least slightly convinced that aging's more unfavorable trappings should be paused, rewound, or at the very least, slowed down. Certainly, healthy eating and fitness may contribute to a more youthful appearance for a longer period. But life, as it turns out, doesn't function like a Netflix show.

So, what are we left to do then, but celebrate? There are still advantages to getting older that have nothing to do with what our high-definition mirrors reflect. Physical concerns completely aside, aging is quite wonderful. Here are ten reasons why.

1. We worry less.

Mercifully, as we get older, we tend to worry less than we did in our younger years. That daunting calculus exam that erased hours of good sleep, that visit from abrasive, cheek-pinching aunts, or that special presentation ten years back upon which many career aspirations hinged. These have become hazy memories, their power largely extinguished. Such anvil-heavy anxieties don’t carry the same weight anymore.

These days, a grin and a guffaw invite a healing effect. Our hard-earned wisdom, the ocean of experiences we’ve had, and the awesome alchemy of both have led to the epiphany: a constant fear of the future doesn’t take us far. Being worried so much is also exhausting. Blend all this with an identity that’s never been so detailed and a confidence that would have been helpful decades ago, and you’re left with a dynamite human, primed to lead a parade.

2. Thanks, but no thanks.

We now feel much more comfortable declining requests or invitations for something that holds zero interest. It turns out the word “No” also works as a complete sentence. Once upon a time, refusing an offer to a friend’s holiday party and uninviting yourself from that group mountain hike could have resulted in a very stormy and pothole-filled social existence. But the original FOMO (fear of missing out) has been transformed into a love for being with just a few people, your partner, or by yourself; after all, you’re the best company you will ever have.

3. Relationships are richer.

With time comes a kind of filter, but not the filtering that's done to smartphone photos. This filtering is of the social variety and happens with friends as well as family. As the years pass, we begin gravitating toward the people we genuinely want to be around. But these curated relationships are also given the chance to grow and evolve, often becoming better in key areas, namely in conversation, support, loyalty and fun.

Along the way, we’ve developed a greater compassion for each other. We also have more patience, given that we grew up when waiting in line to pay for electricity wasn’t unusual or we got lost in a foreign city after failing to decode the oversized map we bravely unfolded. Now in 2024, with neither issue likely, we have even more time to care for one another.

4. Vesting and more discounts.

Keeping with the subject of richness, as a United States citizen, once you turn fifty-years old, you can apply to become an American Associations of Retired People (AARP) member, potentially gaining access to discounted financial assistance, car insurance, and in select cases, traveling. Many retailers and some entertainment venues also offer discounts for verified seniors.

Additionally, if you’ve worked for a single organization or company for an extended period and you’ve been putting your earnings into a retirement plan or 401(K), you may become vested in the organization. This means you should have full, guaranteed access to what you’ve accrued thus far. However, other perks and conditions may apply. Vesting is not offered by every employer, while its definition may vary by organization. Moreover, being vested could arrive at the age of thirty-five or sixty-two; it simply depends on where you work and how long you remain there.

5. We’re now the grownups with answers.

As children, our parents or teachers would often furrow their brows and hesitate briefly before responding to our questions, however logical or ludicrous. We were such curious creatures that wanted to know more. We’d ask these particular people because we literally and figuratively looked up to them as our elders, the omniscient authorities in the very complex field that is living life on earth. Well, now we’re the ones taking questions from an audience of younger folks. Sure, we don’t always have the correct answers and we have to be selective with our phrasing occasionally. But we know so much more than we’ll ever credit ourselves; hopefully everyone figures this fact out sooner rather than later.

6. We’ve been around for every season of The Simpsons. 

Okay, perhaps some might not consider this quite an accomplishment or anything to brag about, but The Simpsons has left such an indelible mark on international pop culture. As of this writing, the television sitcom has been on the air for a staggering thirty-five seasons. To have been around when a show like this was originally created and seen what a universal piece of art it’s turned into is undeniably fascinating.

The show’s extreme popularity somewhat foreshadowed the ubiquity of media in the twenty-first century and the dominance of screens displaying it. On the rosier side, the show’s endurance can also be used to tell someone how old you are. When questioned about your age, simply answer: “I’m the number of the seasons The Simpsons has been airing, plus ‘fill in the blank number’.”

7. Art means more.

That song playing on the first, big family road trip when you were eight years old. The poem you heard read aloud in a village café during an otherwise awkward first date. The Spanish-language film that still resonates with its striking use of color and eloquence. What is it about art as we get older? It’s as if these creative pieces’ intangible worth, their conveyance, their passions and much else, simply expand with their sense of human truth, power, and being. Our response to the art we see, hear, touch and feel is usually the summation of our experiences, understandings, and awareness up until that very point. Given time and age, these creations rise in depth and seem to sink a bit further into the soul, as we gain a firmer grasp of what the art actually means to us and everything it took to exist.

8. We appreciate the importance of letter writing and phone calls. 

We understand the literal meaning of "putting pen to paper" and are unafraid to pick up a phone (on a landline even - yikes!) to call another human for an engaging conversation or to complete a transaction. Oh, the joys of growing up with less technology at our disposal! Certainly, computers have expedited communication and smartphones have made playing addictive games very easy. But a still underrated activity is taking a comfortable seat at a table, preferably wooden to help set the right mood. Then with a pen and a large wide-ruled notepad, you write a letter to a loved one, a friend you’ve lost touch with, or a letter to yourself that praises your incredible diction, laments the lost art of letter writing, and basks in your rare ability to complete the act.

9. But technology is totally terrific! 

You’ve seen the world develop a lot over the decades. We have moved from talking on bulky, corded telephones and enduring cacophonous dial-up, all the way to chatting with people via earpiece, while having access to a wireless network virtually everywhere we wander. This is something to marvel at. That the film The Fifth Element with its prominent display of flying vehicles was not too far away from the flying vehicles we may soon see in our own skies, is nothing short of a fantasy realized. Not to mention, there have been untold advancements in the healthcare industry. The powerful merging of medicine and technology continues to benefit countless individuals throughout the world.

10. We’re acing life’s unlimited subjects. 

We’ve come this far, so we must be doing many things correctly. Over the years, whether it’s painting, gardening, working on our vehicles, tai chi, archery, caring for children or teaching them, we became better at various activities and sharpened our talents. By now, we are extremely practiced in several subjects. We’re quite acquainted with our minds as well as our bodies, so much so that we usually know how we want to employ them and how far they will take us. As we all press on, we make each new day as memorable and productive as can be managed, laced with at least some laughter.

This next metaphor is as overused as the snooze button on an alarm clock, but let’s not fix something unbroken. Now, imagine yourself on a rollercoaster during a cool, sunlit afternoon. The rollercoaster itself is as bright blue as the skies above. It hums right along, steel clamoring against steel, wheels spinning onward, the winds rushing past your ears, a surge of thrills coursing within you. Then, very briefly, you take a moment to glance all around and notice that, in fact, you’re not alone, but instead joined by friends, loved ones, complete strangers. Each of you is afraid, to various degrees, harboring uncountable uncertainties and sporting a smile or two.

Soon you become brave enough to look down, reminding yourself how high you are off the ground, with the theme park’s other visitors appearing miles beneath. Rather than grab that second, enticing stick of cotton candy and confine yourself to the nearest bench, the decision was made to be on this particular and moving ride, one marked by a chain of blurred images that solidify into crystal clarity. Despite the mental preview of infinite possibilities, good or bad, the whole adventure was still pursued. As for the main attraction? It proves to be infinitely sublime.

The list above is, of course, not definitive. Everyone will have their own, customized 10 or maybe 30 reasons to rejoice. But the ruminations given are intended to be affirming and shed additional, flattering light on the intangible bright spots of aging in a world that doesn’t naturally bolster the unavoidable. Perhaps the larger message is to finally convince ourselves of the true and immense value, fortune, and beauty that getting older invariably introduces.

By Jaymes R., Communications Specialist                                                                                                                                                           

About the Author                                                                                                                                                                                            As though he were using a feather quill pen, Jaymes has written several blog articles for our website, exploring annuities, voluntary benefits, and basic finance tips, among other topics. You can check out some of those articles on our main ManhattanLife Blog page

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