6 Reasons Getting Older Doesn’t Suck

There comes a time when we all begin getting older. It begins around 40, and it happens gradually. You start to notice that you’re a little bit out of step with things – you hear music you don’t recognize, you see young actors and actresses on the cover of magazines in the supermarket and have no idea who they are. Your knees feel a little, tiny bit achy, and some days, no matter how much Visine you use, your eyes are still bloodshot. The only movies you want to see are showing at little theaters with uncomfortable seats and stale popcorn. While the junior and contemporary clothing departments are too young for you, Chico’s and Soft Surroundings are still a few years away.

The good news? It’s not all bad. While some things may not be quite as much fun, others become far more enjoyable. It’s all how you look at it.

  1. Your nest empties. While you’re in the middle of raising your kids it’s impossible to believe that this will ever happen, or imagine that you’ll like it, but it will and you will. The joy of raising children is a lot about watching them grow – the goal being to see them become wonderful adults. The empty nest means that they are off on their own, and you can enjoy being the parent of grown people who have lives of their own.
  2. You feel good in your skin. Unless you are someone who lifts, tucks, Botoxes and cardios your body into submission, chances are you will begin to see signs of aging. You won’t like it much at first, but if you’re smart you’ll learn to work with what you have, and you’ll look good because you’re confident and because you make an effort. And if you want a lift or Botox shot, go for it. Whatever makes you happy.
  3. It’s ok to wear comfortable shoes. Not the ugly ones – no one wants to do that. But gradually you will realize that choosing a 5-inch heel over a 2-inch heel can be the difference between a comfortable pair of shoes and elements of torture. You don’t need that anymore.
  4. You can enjoy your marriage or relationship. As you move into middle age, if you are married or in a relationship, you appreciate each other in a more relaxed and comfortable way. If you have kids, they may be older and more independent, giving you more time to spend as a couple. This is a great time to reinforce the good things about your relationship or to address the difficult ones.
  5. You are more tolerant. Youth and young adulthood are filled with events that create drama and tension. The idealism of your 20s and the intensity of your 30s gives way to a more relaxed and accepting view of the world in your 40s and into your 50s. Very few things in your life are important enough to warrant rage or despair. What would have made you nuts when you were younger will now seem unimportant.
  6. You are more certain of what matters. Whether or not you’ve had a big crisis or a life-changing event, chances are you know someone who has. The more you see others faced with difficulties (or face them yourself), the more you understand what you believe is worth fighting for. This focus makes it easier to navigate the world.

Keep an open mind about aging. It may not always feel great or look good, but if you consider the alternative, it’s a good idea to enjoy each day, achy knees, bloodshot eyes and all.

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52 Comments

  • YES to all of these! I LOVE getting older. Well….not everything about it, but mostly. There isn’t an age I would want to go back to.

  • Great list Sharon. I can relate to all 6 of them!

  • Thanks for being another who believes in embracing aging, rather than bemoaning it. There ARE a lot of benefits and you have pointed out many of the most important!

  • Love your list Sharon. Any change in life requires that we evaluate and find the good things that might
    come with the change or haven’t been taken away from the change. In my life right now I have more time for
    writing and gardening and being with my husband and all of that is a gift. Bteh

    • Sharon Greenthal

      I am learning to let myself appreciate the freedom that comes with middle age – sometimes it’s not easy to give in to the “open spaces” in my life, but I’m liking it more and more.

  • Thanks for highlighting the benefits of aging, Sharon. I agree with all of the reasons on your list. And I’ll add one more, without the expense of raising kids, there’s more money and time to travel.

    • Sharon Greenthal

      Very true! Spending money can now be about what we want to do, not what’s best for our children.

  • Great list Sharon! Those of us with health issues realize getting older is a gift.

  • Full of wisdom. You described my grandmothers who passed away in the 90s but live in my heart! Now I have to have their wonderful attitude as I age. Especially the point about not letting little things drive me nuts.

    • Sharon Greenthal

      My grandmother was 98 when she died and there was no one who taught me more about appreciating life than she did.

  • I love middle age even though I didn’t get to experience my empty nest for very long I am still enjoying midlife. I think it’s how you see it. You can bemoan the fates that you’re getting older or you can see it for the opportunity it really is.

  • Yes to all of the above, there is a sweetness to these years.

    • Sharon Greenthal

      Finding the value of life is one of the great things about getting older. Appreciate the little things!

  • What a thoughtful post, Sharon. As you say, aging is a mixed bag but perspective is everything!

    At 70 I’m grateful for a second time around. I get to cheer from the sidelines as my five grandsons begin their climb toward independence.

  • Helene Cohen Bludman

    I agree as well, Sharon. There is much to enjoy despite what our younger selves would have predicted.

  • I totally agree with your list, Sharon. I think those who feel aging is just getting older are the ones who miss out on the good stuff. And, most of them take on the ‘old’ persona in so many ways. Make the best of it all!
    b

  • Hi,Sharon

    I agree with you in all. I would like to add just one or two more points..
    Now I have the time, space, money to start a new business or career for the 2nd part of my life.
    Even we can explore new dimensions in marriage.
    I feel more liberation and fun in that part of my life. – Stella

  • Perfectly stated, as always, Sharon. Raising my children was a special joy which will never be topped, but the second part of my life has brought many positive changes that bring me joy in whole new ways. And it’s more relaxing at this age than I could have ever imagined, wrinkles, extra pounds and all.

  • These are all perfect. I relate to them all. Isn’t it lovely accepting that high heels are out of your life except for dramatically important occasions. I’m still working on tolerance and patience 🙂

  • and then, eventually, there’s feedback from our grown children. When did they get so wise and caring–and interested in what we’re up to? It’s a deep and abiding joy.

  • Hi Sharon,

    Stella shared your post on Facebook and I had to come by to read it.

    I love all the reasons you shared here. I’ll be 45 years old this year and I am loving this part of my life. Our kids are grown up so we can leave whenever we want. We don’t have an empty nest just yet so we take off every now and then and spend the weekend in Galveston, TX.

    We’re also loving the grandparent life. We get to enjoy the little ones and give them back to my daughter when they get fussy, lol. 🙂

    Glad I came by to read your post…I really enjoyed it! It was nice to meet you Sharon. I’ll definitely be coming back. Have a great August!

    Cori

    • Sharon Greenthal

      Thank you so much for reading! I look forward to someday being a grandmother, but I have a feeling it will be a while before that happens 🙂

  • Hi Sharon. You KNOW I believe that getting older doesn’t suck at all. I agree with all your points except maybe the empty nest one because my nest is as full as it’s always been. But I can imagine having adult children around that you enjoy is a good thing. My favorite on your list is #6 and it just keeps getting better and better. ~Kathy

  • As, I am inching closer and closer to 40 now, I think you said it perfectly and can relate to all of the above pretty much, as well Sharon.

  • Mama Fry

    It’s certainly better than pushing up daisies!

  • As someone who’s about to hit a very big decade (I won’t say which but the number 6 is involved), I find getting older mysterious. I feel no different inside. Yes, the outside chassis has some dents and scrapes, but inside it keeps getting better. I know who I am. I’m more tolerant. I enjoy life more than my angst-ridden 20’s. If you have the fortune of good (or decent) health, relax and enjoy. Life keeps getting better.

    • Sharon Greenthal

      I don’t feel much different either – but I do feel more comfortable with myself, and that’s the best thing.

  • I cleaned out my closet last weekend and I need to find some cute comfortable shoes! My daughter is going to help me in this quest. I’ve made some questionable choices in the past.

  • As fifty turns into an age that no longer sounds old and isn’t so far off in the distance anymore I find myself nodding my head about most of your post.

    Most meaning everything but the heels because there has never been a time where I had to worry about that. It may be trivial, but I consider it one of the benefits of being a man.

    • Sharon Greenthal

      I would agree, that is most definitely a benefit of being a man. Although I’m glad I’ve never had to wear a suit and tie…

  • The absolute best thing about aging is the comfortable shoes! I also love that I appreciate each day now and look forward to the next one. I have never felt better in my own skin, even though it may look different.

  • Getting older is all good. I do feel more relaxed and tolerant of the things that only 10 yrs ago really bugged. Do I enjoy the empty nest? Yes and no. I miss the action but it is easier to keep my house clean.

  • judy williamson

    My husband and I planned a two week vacation…..one week with family at a wedding in Georgia,and then a road trip to Savannah and Charleston, South Carolina. FUN!!? After one week in Atlanta, neither one of us
    was particularly eager to travel any further. We missed home and our bed and our shower and so we
    changed our reservations and came home. “What will we tell everyone”, I asked my husband. “The truth”, he said. No one seemed astonished or critical of our decision. “What will you do now”? our friends wanted to know. “NOTHING”, we said. A very blessed word these days..

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