When you’re young, you spend very little time imagining yourself as old. But as time marches on and your days of youth fall deeper into the past, you might long to return to those days. In particular, you wish you could have your youthful looks back, or you fondly remember when you didn’t have the same responsibilities that you have now. But rather than despair about aging, you should embrace it. There are so many reasons why your best days are actually ahead of you and it has to do with life experience. Here are 8 positive things you learn as you grow older.
When we are young and are still learning about how relationships and general human interaction work, we are more inclined to judge people based on how similar they are to us. It could be something silly like their style of clothes or something that can matter, such as their personality. But as we go through life and deal with different types of people, we start to realize that nobody — including ourselves — is perfect and that if we keep an open mind, we might find that they are just as worthy of acceptance as we feel we are.
When we’re young, we are obsessed with this idea of needing to fit in. We see that our classmates are wearing the latest fashion or they’re really good at sports, and it is something that we envy to the point of jealousy. We might feel deeply insecure because we aren’t as “popular.” But once we get to a certain age, we understand that none of these trivial things matter. We accept who we are and appreciate that we get a chance to experience life when so many humans never will.
As we age, we become more knowledgeable about ourselves. This wisdom allows us to gain confidence about our decision-making. Why? Because we are able to assess prior decisions — the mistakes and successes —in order to make future choices. It all comes down to experience, which is something that can only be acquired as we age.
Remember when you were younger how important it was to be right all of the time? We would get frustrated when others didn’t think the exact same way that we did. Or perhaps we wanted to prove that we were “smarter” than our peers or even our parents. These days we accept that there is no “right” or “wrong” answer in many situations. We also realize there are times when it is best to keep our opinions to ourselves for the sake of civility.
As we go through life, we accumulate all this “stuff,” and much of it is things we already have or more than what we need. As we get older, the mantra of “less is more” becomes especially true. We value material possessions less and appreciate relationships and experiences even more.
In our early adulthood, we are more likely to offer unsolicited advice to others thinking we’re being helpful. But at some point we realize nobody appreciates being told what to do anymore than we like others giving us advice we didn’t ask for. Instead, we come to understand that the best way to help others is to give them suggestions, but make it clear that they are free to choose whichever path is best for them.
Another benefit of getting older is that we recognize that nothing is gained either by putting others down or dwelling on the mistakes we’ve made. The better route is to encourage others with positive feedback and ask ourselves what we can learn from our own mistakes.
Think about this: some of the most notable people throughout history died relatively young. Many didn’t even make it past their 20s; they hardly had a chance to really live. So rather than lament over the fact that our hair is turning grey and we’ve developing wrinkles, we should appreciate all of the memories and life milestones that we achieve when those who died young never will.