At the first signs of aging, some of us may experience a sense of fear and foreboding. We worry more about our health, both mental health and physical fitness. We resolve to take better care of ourselves and explore every new anti-aging process that we see on TV.
I find, however, that the key to successful aging is to find reasons to enjoy the aging process. You may be skeptical at this point, so I have compiled a list of 10 reasons why it’s good to be old.
Surely you saw this one coming! Some senior discounts kick in as early as 50 years of age, which is when AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) will begin sending you literature in the mail. There are loads of discounts available for those who are 55 years of age and older.
Older adults can save on everything from dining discounts to free drinks all across the country. And don’t be shy about asking for the discount, as many places won’t give it to you unless you specifically mention it when you place an order.
Aging and Sleep
I used to live by my alarm clock. I would set it for 4:30 AM, and go through my morning routine in a dazed rush to be out the door by 5:10 AM and catch the commuter train into work.
I did this five days a week, 49 or so weeks out of the year. On the weekends I would sleep in, and try to “catch up” on my missed sleep.
Not any more. Today I get up when I’m good and ready. And I go to sleep when I please. But it doesn’t end there. I can even take a nap anytime I feel like it.
I might even get up, have breakfast, and go back to bed. Sleep deprivation is a thing of the past, and one of the sweetest benefits of getting old.
This primarily applies if you’ve reached the “magic number” where you can start receiving your Social Security benefits. Alternatively, you have saved in a 401 (k) plan, IRA, or have other investments, and can now receive a steady income. If you’re not there yet, then it’s another thing to look forward to as you age.
Yes, my friends, the check really is in the mail. Or direct deposit. Either way, the money arrives monthly whether you decide to work or not.
When you were younger, weekends were for parties and recreation (once you had caught up on the cleaning of course). That was especially true for three-day weekends, which could sometimes cause people to go a little crazy. No so with the “older” crowd. After a nice three-day holiday, you don’t have to go back to work.
In fact, you can start and end a trip on any day of the week, which is also great for getting better rates at hotels. It’s a win-win.
Maybe it’s just me, but the older I get, the less I care about what other people think. That includes what other people think of my opinions and what they think of me personally. When I was younger, I was concerned about keeping up with trends, staying abreast of popular opinion, and generally trying to be “liked.”
When you get older, you can do what you feel like doing, even if other people think it’s funny or weird. You can say what you like, think what you like, and not worry if other people disagree with you. It’s extremely liberating.
Stay Home When it Rains
When you’re still part of the rat race, you have to go to work, the store, and pretty much everywhere else on a timetable. If it happens to be raining, you just suck it up and go, because there is a schedule to be met. That means driving, shopping, and running other errands in the rain and/or snow.
Once you reach a certain age, you no longer have to abide by arbitrary schedules that others impose. You’re no longer trying to squeeze in a trip to the store on your lunch hour, or a stop at the bank on your way home from work. If the weather is bad, you can just stay home and go another day. How sweet is that?
If you worked in the business world, you probably had to dress a certain way. For ladies, it meant high heels, pantyhose, skirts or nice pantsuits, and the appropriate accessories.
For the men, it generally meant a suit and tie, a nice belt, and dress shoes. If you didn’t work in a business office, you still probably needed to show up to work in something “work appropriate.”
Now that you are past that, you no longer need to wear anything tight, pressed, or otherwise uncomfortable. It’s all shorts in the summer and sweatpants in the winter. Or you can dress up if you feel like it. No more dress code for you.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to get graphic. When you’re younger, sex is a thorny proposition. When you’re starting out, there is the question of having children and getting pregnant. Then when children come along, there is the question of how to maintain a “romantic” relationship with kids in the house.
But once the nest is “empty,” and the biological clock has stopped running, intimate relationships become much less complicated. Yeah!
For many older adults, you’ve finally reached the stage in life where the house is paid for. I know this must be the case because every night I hear an advertisement for reverse mortgages on TV. If you’re not there yet, then perhaps you will be soon. A house that is paid for is a sweet reward for getting old.
With Aging, Comes Wisdom
With experience, comes wisdom. Chances are you’ve been there, and you’ve done that. The only downside is that your children won’t realize that you are wise until they are over 30 years old. Or more. Or never.
Still, wisdom is a real time saver, and something to look forward to when you’re older.
So enjoy the aging process. You don’t have to go to school or work. You get an “allowance” every month. You have your own pad. You don’t have a curfew. You have a driver’s license and your own car.
The people you hang around with are not scared of getting pregnant, and you don’t have acne!
Carolyn is a lifelong learner, musician, author, world traveler, truth enthusiast, life optimizer, and all around bon vivant. Working for 32 years at the Southern California Gas Company, she retired early at 55 to pursue projects that brought her joy and personal fulfillment. She is a freelance author, a contract instructional designer, and has published two books while currently working on a third. She writes articles and blog posts on topics from politics to weight loss. She is a patron of the arts, and finds great joy in playing an instrument, singing, and/or listening to music every single day.