“People try to put us down
Just because we get around
saying we look awful c-c-c-cold
Hope I die before I get old.”
The irony is that the same people that jammed out to “My Generation” by The Who at age 18 are now 68 years old! Even more ironic is that they are statistically approaching the same level of “sense of happiness and well-being” that the average 18-year-old enjoys! Happiness is not a straight line in life. The average person’s life happiness goes U shape.
There is one reason to love aging: you will just plain be happier! But there is more!
Your social skills and empathy improve.
As people age, they tend to find their social relationships and family relationships more essential and more rewarding. Along with that, they develop an increased ability to connect with others.
One study was divided into two groups: one group in their 20s and one group in their 60s. Both were given hypothetical social situations and asked to write advice to one of the people in the situation. The participants in the older group did far better than those in the younger group by looking at the situation from all the different points of view and were better at finding cooperative ways forward.
You don’t take things as seriously or as personally.
Age brings perspective, for others as well as yourself. Older adults tend to have a more settled sense of who they are and are less thrown off by their own failings or by the criticism of others. Older adults are often less self-conscious about their appearance and aren’t worried about what other people think, giving them a great deal of freedom. Even freedom to laugh at themselves.
Most of the major questions are answered.
A good deal of worrying is done about how things will turn out in life. For most older adults, a lot of those questions have already been answered. They often have rewarding careers behind them and can focus on enjoying today.
Seniors have a chance to do what they really love.
One of the main reasons why the happiness of middle-aged adults is drained away is because of time poverty. In mid-career, you have no extra time. Hobbies and passions are put on hold or shoved to the margins. In retirement though, you have time to do those things that you enjoy and fulfill you, even if they don’t make money.
Time with people that matter.
As I mentioned above, the time-strapped nature of middle-age makes it hard to connect with those people who matter most. But what middle-age takes away, retirement can give back. Being in middle age myself, I’ve often wondered why grandparents would move across the country to live close to their grandchildren. This is why: As you enter into retirement, often times the priorities that have been hijacked by the busyness of life for so many years start to fix themselves. Being close to those you love and doing what makes you alive is what matters.