Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. – Betty Friedan
Joyful moments happen every day and peace can turn into calamity in an instance. The world is wired to give us pleasure and to deliver pain. There’s just no getting around it.
The gift of years has taught me this truth.
Measuring Our Growth
In my lifetime I’ve seen it all. From unexpected loss to receiving unconditional love, my experiences are probably no different than yours.
These experiences are like pencil marks on a doorframe – they measure our resilience to pain and they measure our capacity to find happiness in spite of life’s bipolar-like behavior. After each mark is recorded, we see we have grown a little more.
Getting older gives us the tools to be stronger when the blows strike and to welcome the joyful moments when they present themselves.
So, instead of dreading birthdays, consider embracing them and then opening your mind to all of the wonderful things that come with getting older. Here some of the best gifts the years give:
- You are able to enjoy more mature relationships. Youthful ways and immaturity can make it difficult for you to enjoy loving, meaningful relationships with friends or even your partner. Maturity helps you understand, accept and be more willing to compromise and forgive, which are key in any healthy relationship.
- You realize your looks and what you wear are really not that important. Outward appearances are not as important as what is on the inside. Getting older tells you it’s okay to dress as good as you feel.
- Make peace. The gift of years nudges you to make peace with yourself and others. Forgive the people who have hurt you and then turn the forgiveness inward for the mistakes you’ve made. Growing older helps you realize that resentment takes up valuable real estate in your heart.
- Early bedtimes and naps are a luxury. Relaxing in a quiet room with a book is no longer a punishment but something to look forward to and savor.
- Priorities are clearer. The gift of years makes you aware that your time in this world is limited. Rather than putting energy on trivial matters, growing older serves as a wake-up call to become aware of what’s more important – things like seeking out positive relationships and focusing more on what’s good and less on what’s bad.
- You have managed to get past your financial mistakes and have become more financially secure. Student loans are finally paid off and you have become more aware of the crippling effects of credit card debt. While splurging now and then is a reminder to live in the moment, the gift of years teaches you not to blow money on frivolous things too often.
- Embrace your retirement.. Your days of working full time are coming to an end and you will be able to enjoy all the little things you have been too busy to do. Tending the garden, focusing on creative projects, and spending time with your family might be at the top of your list instead of marching through the daily grind.
- Be yourself. Perhaps the best gift the years give is the encouragement to be you. Use your second half to show what lives inside your soul. Share you passion, use your voice and reveal your true colors. Don’t let regret win. Shine instead.