Aging is a given. Everyone will be old one day if they are lucky. Sometimes at a certain age you will be stunned at the number of birthdays you’ve had. But growing older doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. You can be even happier as you age than when you were young. You learn to be more patient and little things don’t upset you. You appreciate your blessings and you have more fun. You can do things you love that you never had time for before. Growing older doesn’t mean your life is over, sometimes it’s a new beginning.
The accepted idea is that life gets crummier with age, but ask any older woman how she feels about aging and nine times out of ten she will say her life is better than when she was a young woman. People really are happier as they age. People have the mind set that they will be less happy as they go into middle age and older, but are pleasantly surprised to find it isn’t so. When we’re older we live more in the present. The brain tends to diminish the negative as the part of our brain that processes emotions changes how it reacts to the negative. When we’re young we see a long life stretching out before us and pursue long time goals, but as we age we focus on goals we can accomplish now which gives us joy and satisfaction.
Mary Hancock of Chattanooga, Tennessee at age 75 started a college course in art, something she had long wanted to do but something always got in her way. She not only finished the course and began painting. She actually sells her paintings and loves the creativity. She is putting away funds for her grandchildren’s education and has never been happier. As we age we become more adaptive.
It’s true we lose our mates. Family and friends will pass away. But we learn to adapt to loss. Things that used to tick us off no longer matter. We chalk it up to life and move on. We learn to stick with relationships that are real and let go of those that are hollow. It’s not the quantity that counts but the quality. The stereotype of the quarrelsome old cat lady down the street is still alive and well, but how many old ladies like that do you really know? Likely not a one.
Sad to say that image does real damage and puts a bad reflection on older women. But don’t fret, odds are none of us will wind up like that. We are not sitting in rockers watching the world go by anymore. We are active and out in the world. We are up to date on current events and our voices are heard.
A study done at Harvard found that older people who are exposed to positive age stereotypes perform better physically and mentally than those exposed to negative ones. For most of us, we love our lives and wouldn’t turn back time even if we could.