When the cashier at the food market asked if she was eligible for a senior discount, the woman ahead of me answered, “Unfortunately yes.” As I stepped up for my turn to pay, I said, “I’m happy to be old, and I’ll happily take your wisdom discount.” That’s what they call it, and that’s how I feel. This post isn’t about the assets of being an adult: having freedom, money, health, etc. It’s my take on a few of the special attributes that come only with time travel.
Five Reasons For My Rosy Outlook
- I’m glad to have the confusion of my teens and the ambitions of my twenties and thirties and forties behind me. Those pulses reverberate in later decades, but on the whole, today I am more in touch with what’s truly “me”. What I’ve inherited, what I’ve shaped, how I’m still growing, what is not likely amenable to change. I’m happy to be my good, old self.
- My memory banks are full and colorful. I’ve gathered more deep-seated recollections than surface memorabilia, so my clutter is delightfully internal. If my short term memory fails me, it’s no problem. I can call on vivid memories of happy times and battles I’ve fought and won.
- Aging has turned the timeline into a treadmill, the generation gap into a mobius loop. As I age, it gets easier to understand my children and my parents. By now I’ve experienced something similar to whatever it is they are or were living through. I actually do feel I bring value to inter-generational conversations with family and friends.
- I finally get it that the meaning of “forgiveness” is not primarily about letting go of unforgiveness (which is the negative feeling inside me), but is more about me personally bearing the cost of the hurt or injustice by paying off the debt that I believe I’m owed. To forgive is to give without expecting anything in return. I’ve lived long enough that I can even forgive my own mistakes. I consciously pay whatever price I deem sufficient and require no further apology, guilt, or other kind of reparation. Done is done.
- Confidence is a long-term do-it-yourself project. I’ve survived a near-fatal illness, the deaths of loved ones, relocations, career disappointments, failed relationships, a never-ending circus of societal changes. I’m happy to be old and seen my footprints engraved in the sands of time, known love, satisfied my wander lust and discovered my sense of play. Trust in oneself comes from evidence that I’ve got what it takes to face whatever plot twist emerges next.
Want to be Happy to Grow Old?
Happiness is a choice. As you meet day to day challenges of aging, you can focus on what’s difficult to handle and, thus, potentially frightening. Or turn your attention to the successes in your lived history to date.
The post-adult stage of life requires a great deal of personal adaptation. Our planet and society are also in the throes of significant and demanding shifts. Choose your view: In the accompanying picture, do you see an old woman looking down or a resilient woman looking left to access her acquired strengths and inherited talents? Be happy to be old today.
Redefine Your Outlook
You may find useful reinforcement for a positive outlook on aging by rereading this past blog which includes my poster “I’m Not Retired, I’m Repurposed. Happy seasons ahead.