July 10, 2014

3 Benefits Of Aging

Yes...you read it right. I said BENEFITS of AGING.

If you haven't reached the age where you've been blessed to start enjoying those "benefits" the idea that they actually exist might sound looney to you. If you've reached the age where you're feeling the aging, and missing the benefits, it may still sound looney to you.

Well, I'm looney. Let's just get that out there right up front. So here's my top 3 benefits of aging in no particular order:


1. WISDOM  A few months ago, after a woman's gathering, a young mother came up to me and said: "You're SO wise." because of some comments I'd made during a discussion. "Yes" I said, "And it only cost me my youth and beauty. Care to trade?" Needless to say, I'm still old and wise. 

Wisdom is the applied application of knowledge. As I age, I find myself actually taking the advice I've given to others for years.  Age old wisdom is still wisdom after eons because there really is nothing new under the sun.

While youth and beauty are great in their season - almost like a type of protective coloration for our naivety - I can say I wouldn't trade one year of my life's experience to have either of them back again. (ask me again in 5 years.)

2. LETTING GO   Letting go is a crucial part of life that comes a lot more easily now than it did in my youth. When I was young, everything seemed gravely important. The color of fingernail polish seemed to hold as much prominence as relationships and world affairs. I think it takes getting banged up a few times and living to tell the tale to realize that so much of what we worry about just doesn't matter. Even forgiving is easier now.  (It may be because I can't remember what I was upset about to begin with but it's still a bonus.)

I've come to realize that sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, and sometimes things are just rained out, and that's OK. We lick our wounds, dust ourselves off, and live to fight another day.  When I was young, I believed that pain was a life sentence, that loss could not be overcome, and that losing was the end of playing instead of just the end of that game. I love the perspective that took decades to accumulate that tells me differently now. It allows me to let go knowing that "this too shall pass" and I will heal - like it or not.

3. FREEDOM  The kind of freedom I'm talking about comes when we walk out of the self imposed imprisonment of "What will they think of me?"  

Freedom comes in learning the truth in this adage: "You wouldn't care so much what people think of you if you realized how seldom they do." We live our lives, to some degree, in a type of tunnel vision of mirrors that all point back at us. In high school, the appearance of a pimple could mean fear of certain isolation. It took years for me to figure out that everyone was too focused on their own imperfection de jour to have time to worry about mine.
I'm enjoying the freedom that comes with being comfortable enough with who I am that I don't need outside sanctioning to feel OK. I no longer feel the need to say "yes" on occasions when "no" is not only the sane thing to say, but is what I really mean. 

I'm OK knowing that I can't please everyone. I've finally figured out that's not what I'm here for anyway.

So there you have it! My top 3 Benefits of Aging. I'm sure you have your own list as well. I'd love to hear some that I may have missed. If you add yours we'll all have something to think about other than our creaky knees.


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