There has long been a stigma in society that aging is something to be feared or avoided. In reality, however, aging can be the best, most fulfilling and gratifying experience that can happen to a person, and it is an opportunity to be relished—not dreaded. If you find yourself looking toward your older years and wishing they weren’t happening, you’re in luck: all it takes is a mindset shift to have a different viewpoint on the experience, and a little work cultivating a new attitude so that you can start to enjoy life in the present and savor it into the future. Here are some reasons to feel lucky about the experience of aging and how you can fully embrace the coming years in your life.
Understand the Physical and Psychological Benefits of Aging
There’s a widespread belief that your body and mind peak during your early adulthood and begin to decline in your later years. In reality, however, as you age, your body and mind improve in very concrete ways. First, studies show that aging brains can see the big picture better than younger brains can, because they are able to pick out patterns. This means that they can make more connections and come up with wiser solutions. Also, aging minds are better with empathy. Empathy is a process that is learned and refined as people grow older, and thus, aging gives you the opportunity to understand people better and exhibit more kindness. Finally, older people are better at emotion regulation. People who have experienced more life tend to be better at embracing and focusing on the positive and letting go of the negative. This capability can create richer experiences and deeper joy as you get older in years.
Know that the Aging Process Has Changed
Thanks to technology, science, medicine, and a shift in cultural mindset, the process of aging has changed. People no longer retire in their mid-60s and live their final decades in quiet respite. Instead, people are working into their 70s, 80s, and beyond, and ageism is decreasing steadily in society, especially in the workplace. For this reason, you can continue into your later life knowing that it will be full of passion, excitement, and work if you want it to be, and that this life stage can be even more enjoyable because you can healthily do the same activities, with more knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.
Take Active Steps to Embrace a Growth-Oriented Mindset
One good way to feel lucky about aging is to take active steps to be mentally prepared for it. If you approach aging with a growth-oriented mindset, you can think about the aging process as a path forward, rather than the end of a journey. There are some concrete things you can do to embrace growth as you age: make more friends. You will lose friends in different ways as you age (some to death and illness, some to retirement and moving, and some you will simply grow apart from). Continue to expand your friend circle, so that you can have a wide community of people around you. By building relationships with a varied group of people, you can ensure you have support and continue to expand your mind with different viewpoints. Also, look at people who you believe have aged gracefully. Consider what you like about their process, and copy it in a way that works for you. Looking to aging role models can prove to you that life can get better as you get older, and also serve as a model for you to reference when you’re uncertain of your own path.