Yes, I realize youth has its advantages. You’re naturally better looking (lack of wrinkles, skin isn’t sagging in certain places, no need to color the hair, etc). You can get away with less sleep a lot easier. I remember pulling all nighters in college then sleeping for a couple hours without any problem. I could eat junk food and not get sick.
But when I was thinking about it today, I realized I would rather be 40 than 30 or even 20. My parents used to say if they had the choice, they wouldn’t go back and do it all over again. When they told me this, I was a teenager, and I couldn’t understand why they’d pass up the chance to be a teen again. I had a lot of fun as a teenager. I also had fun in college. I enjoyed my 20’s, etc. I always thought when I was 40, I’d be wishing I could go back and reliving those periods of my life.
But I’m not. In fact, I am more excited about life than I’ve ever been before. I think the best is yet to come, and here’s why:
1. Getting Older Means Making Better Decisions
I really wish I had known back then what I know now. I made some really stupid mistakes when I was younger. For example, I like people who didn’t even like me take advantage of me. Why? Because I felt like I had to be nice and being nice was doing what they wanted. You know the type of people I’m talking about. These are the ones who want to tell you all their troubles or need to do something for them. But the minute you need someone, they are conveniently busy. Then, if you dare say no because you do have something going on that is important (like having to take care of a sick kid or going to the store to pick up milk because you’re out and need it for dinner), they find a way to make you feel guilty for not being there for them when they “needed” someone.
I said yes when I should have said no. This resulted in me letting these people walk all over me. I wish I had spent more time being nice to those people who cared about me, the ones who understood when I was busy and were there for me when I needed someone. The users in life just aren’t worth it. I don’t care if they are family. Being family doesn’t mean it’s okay to let them walk all over you. You have the right to say no and, more importantly, you have the right to not feel guilty for it.
Getting older has allowed me to understand I have the right to set boundaries down with people. Yes, it’s important to be kind and helpful, but that shouldn’t be at the expense of your family, health, career, God, or whatever else is important in your life. Sometimes you have to say no to the wrong things so you can yes to the right things.
2. Getting Older Means I Know I Need To Take Care of My Health
When you’re younger, you really don’t think about death or illness (unless you happen to have suffered something serious). My childhood and adulthood (so far) have been pretty uneventful. The worst I’ve had is a miscarriage and kidney stone. So I am not complaining. I get out of bed every morning and walk and do everything I need to do without really thinking about it.
But now that I’m older, I am more aware of how blessed I am, and I’m more appreciative of it. I also make a concentrated effort to take better care of myself. I eat a lot more vegetables and fruits than I ever did before. I exercise more. I rarely eat junk food, candy, or drink soda. I’ve never smoked or done drugs. I only drink a glass of wine once in a while. So I’ve been doing some things right all along. But there’s always room for improvement, and getting older makes me more aware of this.
Because of my diet change and increase in exercise, I actually have more energy and feel much better than I did in my 30’s, and that is emotionally and physically. I will add I didn’t do any major diet or exercises changes right away. I would add one or two things a week. When I exercised, I would add another block when I walked after a week. I made them gradual so they had a better chance of sticking, and I only pick things I want to eat and exercise I want to do. Walking is my top choice, especially hiking when I can do it. There’s nothing like being on a nature trail with autumn leaves. That’s my favorite time of year to walk. Spring is second.
3. Getting Older Means I Appreciate Things More
When I look back on my life, I get a better picture of the good things that have been a part of it. Even the bad times made way for something good to emerge. The bad times are never pleasant. Even now, I cringe when I think more bad times are coming. Good and bad times will always come. It’s the way life is. But by choosing to focus in on the good and how it brought me to where I am, I feel more grateful, which in turn has led me to feel more positive about the present and the future.
I think getting older helps to put things in perspective. I used to worry about silly small things like whether or not people would think I was a geek for wearing a snow hat when it was cold outside when I was in high school. Or I’d wear uncomfortable clothes so others wouldn’t think I was a slouch. Now, I think, “I want to be warm. I want to be comfortable. Who cares if someone thinks I’m weird?”
4. Getting Older Means I Am More Passionate About My Purpose In Life
Whatever your purpose is, I guarantee you, someone isn’t going to like it. You can’t please everyone, no matter how hard you try. But if you know what your purpose is and you’re passionate about doing it, it gets easier to do it the older you get because you’ve already suffered some dings and bruises of rejection along the way. Your skin does get thicker as you keep trudging forward.
If someone doesn’t like what I write, that’s okay. It just means my books aren’t their cup of tea. I understand this because there are some TV shows and movies my husband loves but I don’t. It’s not personal. It’s a preference, that’s all. So people not liking my books doesn’t upset me like it used to. I also know some people read my books because of what I write. Those are the ones I write for. Getting older gives me a better perspective on the big picture, and this is what enables me to fine tune my skills and get better at what I do.
I’ll end the post here. I rambled on much longer than I expected. But I will close with saying I wouldn’t want to go back and relive any part of my life because where I am now is much better than where I’ve been. 😀
If anyone else has any reasons why they found getting older to mean getting better, I’d love to hear them.