When it comes to aging, Abraham Lincoln took the high road by focusing on the experience gained along the way, stating, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years.” Mark Twain offered a decidedly more flippant take on the subject: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” That comment might have been made in jest, but it’s worth remembering that there’s often a fair amount of truth in humor. American culture tends to celebrate youth, but there truly is something to be said for the joys of aging.
Celebrating the Joys of Aging
Advertisers would have you think that growing older is all about aches and pains and wrinkles and grey hair. Savvy seniors know that there is much more involved to adding years to your age. While few would argue that garnering years is all rainbows and unicorns, there are certainly some positive things about aging.
Seniors Are Happier
According to Smithsonian Magazine, seniors tend to be happier than their younger counterparts, and there are multiple scientific studies to prove it. It seems as if negative emotions like anger, fear, and sadness become less pronounced as people age and gain emotional maturity. Risk-taking and regret tend to decrease, and self-acceptance and happiness often blossom as people get better at living in the moment.
Seniors Enjoy Financial Perks
A single senior discount may not produce massive savings; however, these discounts are a very common phenomenon. Entertainment venues, restaurants, museums, retail establishments, and travel groups all tend to offer them. When combined, they can produce substantial savings.
Seniors Have Clear Priorities
Younger people are often pulled in multiple directions. They are often torn between what they want, what they think they should do, and what others tell them they need to do. Seniors usually have a much easier time when it comes to sorting out their wants and their needs. A lifetime of experience has given them real skills when it comes to prioritizing.
Seniors Have the Bilaterization Bonus
It’s true. Aging is associated with some losses in memory and cognition. However, the brain is an amazing thing. As the Boston Herald reports, studies show that seniors are more likely to benefit from bilaterization. In other words, seniors are more likely than younger adults to use both hemispheres of their brain simultaneously. It’s a habit that can actually sharpen their reasoning and problem-solving skills, allowing them to excel at cognitively challenging tasks.
Seniors Have a Higher Sense of Self-Esteem
With experience comes wisdom. While seniors might not have all the answers, they do have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. They recognize that a failure or loss isn’t the end of the world because they’ve already picked themselves up from catastrophes in the past. While younger adults are sometimes shattered by an academic failure or career setback, older adults are far less likely to be crushed by the dramatic twists and turns of life. Their sense of self is already firmly established, so they don’t tend to gauge their worth by outside forces.
Seniors Suffer Less from Allergies
Allergic reactions can run the gamut. In some cases, they produce a runny nose, itchy eyes, cough, and general misery. In other situations, they can trigger anaphylaxis, a cascade of severe reactions that can be deadly. One of the joys of aging is that the production of Immunoglobulin E (which is suspected of being the major culprit behind allergies) diminishes, according to the BBC. Having less Immunoglobulin E in your system means that if you have an allergic reaction, your symptoms are likely to be milder.
Seniors Worry Less About What Others Think
Over the years, people typically hone certain skills. One of these is emotional management. As a result, negative emotions like anger, fear, and sadness lose some of their sting, so older adults tend to be happier. They also learn to prioritize. Focusing on what really matters allows them to let go of what doesn’t. When you combine those skills with the fact that older adults have a higher sense of self-esteem, it’s no surprise that seniors spend less time worrying about what other people think. That’s freeing.
No matter what your age, it’s important to recognize and celebrate the joys of aging. Growing older isn’t just an inevitability – it’s also a gift!
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