It’s not uncommon to feel apprehensive about aging. Stereotypes, misconceptions, and fear of the unknown can lead us to believe that aging is simply not something to look forward to.
The truth is that, no matter how hard you try or how afraid you may be, growing older is inevitable. So instead of avoiding it, why not embrace it? Why not view aging as a rite of passage instead of a necessary evil? A gold medal or honor instead of a participation trophy? By embracing and accepting healthy aging, you’ll find that there are more silver linings to joining the silver demographic than you may realize.
At HarborChase Senior Living, we celebrate senior living, encouraging older adults to be the best version of themselves and live life to the fullest (and January 22nd happens to be National Celebrating Life Day!)
Since people tend to be overly focused on the disadvantages of aging, we’ve decided to honor this holiday by sharing some of the benefits of growing older and how some things even get better with age.
Experience a Life Well-Lived
The idea of “elder wisdom” can often be romanticized, commonly stereotyped as an old, wise sage who passes down guidance in the form of lore and fables. As geriatric neuropsychiatrist Dilip Jeste says, “wisdom is not an inevitable product of aging (The San Diego Union-Tribune).” While wisdom may not be an inevitable part of aging, experience is. And, when analyzed and evaluated, experience can often lead to wisdom.
With a life well-lived, growing older means you will have more experiences, judgments, memories, and insight—which all pave the way for more profound empathy, understanding, and emotional maturity. This can also lead to a change in perspective; while younger people may view events and years as a single occasion, older adults tend to look at their life as a whole. Seeing things from this bigger picture perspective may even allow you to take a step back and focus on the things that truly matter in life.
Watch Your Family Grow
There’s something special about watching your children grow from clumsy toddlers into full-grown adults with jobs and families of their own. It can be awe-inspiring to see in your children elements of yourself mixed with their own quirks and traits—revealing an utterly unique individual. It can be even more special to see how your children become parents themselves. We’ve all heard the phrase “never have children, only grandchildren”—a humorous way to describe the special bond between grandparents and their grandchildren. Being a grandparent can be a fulfilling and remarkable experience that is unique from raising your children.
Of course, a family doesn’t have to be blood for you to experience the joy of watching them grow and thrive. Growing older allows you to watch close loved ones as they grow, disperse, and create their own lives—whether it’s nieces or nephews, family friends, or neighbors.
Enjoy Your Time
After decades of working, raising children, and tending to the house, retirement and growing older is a time to do what you genuinely want to do. Whether it’s relaxing and looking back on all your accomplishments, traveling the world, going back to school, or pursuing a long lost dream, this is your time. Enjoy it!
Fully embracing retirement can be a difficult transition for some people, so it’s essential to establish a routine, stay socially connected, and set new goals.
Appreciate Your Health
One of the biggest fears surrounding aging is declining health and loss of independence. However, like many things surrounding aging, what if we were to embrace it instead of shying away from it? Instead of fearing what we will lose, why don’t we appreciate what we have?
Today’s older adults are younger and healthier than ever, ringing true the phrase “70 is the new 30.” Even society and stereotypes are changing. Today’s older adults appreciate and embody active and healthy aging by running marathons, continuing to work, and even becoming social media fitness influencers!
Better With Age
Like wine, cheese, and certain movie stars, some things just get better with age. As we grow older, there are aspects of life that become fuller and more meaningful. By approaching this time with excitement instead of fear, many will realize that the golden years may even be the best years of their lives.
No matter what age you are, on this Celebrating Life Day, HarborChase Senior Living encourages you to celebrate and honor life!
With independent living communities throughout the United States, HarborChase is passionate about celebrating senior living. For more resources on healthy aging, senior living, and more, visit our HarborChase blog!