Our culture is obsessed with youth. Billions of dollars are spent on anti-aging products—elixirs and lotions and magic pills. In a list of top ten worst things to happen, getting old is in the top five. Our bodies start deteriorating, we face new challenges and illnesses, and we start losing people we love.
Aging is an inevitable part of modern longevity, but it doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Seniors are smarter, wiser, and have more life experience. It’s time for us as a culture to embrace aging and give our seniors the respect and admiration they deserve.
In that spirit, here are 5 things that are great about growing old:
1. Enhanced Perspective
Otherwise known as wisdom, seniors posses this in abundance. It’s a side effect of living for all those years—you can’t get to old age without acquiring wisdom and perspective. Studies show that seniors are actually among the happiest people in the world, significantly happier than middle-aged people. When you’ve been around for a while, you realize what’s important in life, and it’s much easier to be happy.
Seniors are also more emotionally resilient, because they’ve experienced more “hard knocks” than younger people. Another benefit of expanded perspective is that seniors are often more confident than they were in their youth.
2. Better Social Skills
Seniors are better at empathy than younger people. A study asked 200 participants to write responses to hypothetical “Dear Abby” letters. The results showed that those aged 60 and older were more empathetic and were therefore able to give better advice.
Empathy is a valuable social skill, one that takes years to cultivate.
Someone once said that grandchildren are our reward for not killing our children. And yes, building relationships with grandchildren is one of the most delightful things in the world. You get to experience the magic of little children, without having to worry about feeding them, diapering them, and parenting them.
Even if you don’t have grandchildren, cultivate relationships with other children—your nieces and nephews, friends’ children, or neighbors. Inter-generational relationships are beautiful things that bring joy to both seniors and children.
4. Senior Discounts
When you were younger and struggling, those discounts would have come in handy. Now you’re entitled to discounts for transportation, at entertainment and dining venues, and at the pharmacy. Some stores even have “senior citizens day”—usually Wednesday—where you can get store-wide discounts just for being over 60.
5. You’ve Grown Old
Not everyone makes it to old age. When you reach your golden years, you can look back on a life well-lived and enjoy the fruits of your hard work. Age has a way of showing us what’s truly important in life, and we can appreciate our aging bodies for what they are: the testament to a long and productive life.