It’s no use getting old if you don’t get wise, and getting older isn’t all doom and gloom if you realize that life is a journey; a journey of life lessons and experiences containing successes and mistakes.

What nobody tells you is that it’s the accumulation of this knowledge and how you respond to it that makes your later years the ‘golden years’ because as you age, you earn your stripes. But if your stripes aren’t put to good use and acknowledged, then you’ve missed the point of getting older.

Here are 11 positive things nobody tells you about aging.

1. You don’t always have to be right

Remember when you were younger, how important it was to be right? Well, as the years pass by, we begin to understand that being right isn’t nearly as important as listening to and weighing up every side of the argument, even possibly deferring to someone else’s point of view. We begin to understand that it’s often better to lose a few battles in order to win the war.

2. You learn not to judge

In the Western world, we learn early on to want material things and strive to get them. While this isn’t altogether bad, it often brings with it envy and jealousy.  We might begin to judge others on their material assets and not on who they are as people.  As we get older, ‘stuff’ becomes less important than people and relationships and we learn not to judge, but just to accept people as they are.

3. You begin to want Less

We accumulate so much ‘stuff’ on our journey through life in the Western world and much of this is redundant and in excess of what we actually need.  As we get older, we begin to realize that sometimes less is more.  It’s an incremental understanding that we don’t need to surround ourselves with a whole lot of material things.

4, You gain more confidence in making decisions.

It’s true age brings wisdom. It can also bring more confidence. Why? Because we accumulate Experience with a capital “E” as we journey through life and our life lessons are powerful tools to draw from to make future decisions. Yes we’ve made mistakes, but we’ve learned from them and that instills an innate confidence for future decision making.

5. Your children become your friends

It’s hard to think of our children as friends when they are firstly so dependent upon us and then  perhaps when they’re rebellious against us, or even hate us, during their teenage years. What nobody tells us is that as they become adults, grow into their own lives and fulfill their own dreams, we as parents take on a different role.  Children now return to the family home and hearth as individuals in their own right and as friends.

6. You understand that there’s no point in telling anyone what to do

At some stage in your life you might feel the urge to proffer unsolicited advice and think that you’re doing someone a favor.  At a certain age, you then realize that there’s no point in telling anyone what to do, that actually, if you think about it, being given advice you didn’t ask for doesn’t feel very nice.  What does feel good though is if someone plants a seed for you to ponder which leads you on to find the right answer yourself.

7. You learn that wrinkles should be worn with pride

For women especially, the onset of the first wrinkle is a day of some grief and in the years of growing up, a wrinkle free face is falsely deemed a prerequisite of beauty by our youth-centric society.  Later in life, we realize that we are fortunate to be growing old and that wrinkles stand as a testimony to our experiences.  It shows that we have successfully navigated the troughs and peaks of life.  Wrinkles represent the days of our lives, each telling a different story.

8. You are able to treat your parents with unconditional respect

Our parents, although we love them, may have driven us mad at some point in our lives, and for those of us with children ourselves, the pattern is repeated.  As we get older, we learn how to treat our mothers and fathers with respect and how to have patience as they reach their autumn years because we have better understanding of the trials and tribulations they have gone through in the process of aging.

9. It’s O.K. to play the fool again

As children we laughed, played the fool and generally didn’t think too much about what other people thought about us. Then our ego’s developed, self awareness set in and we began to reign in our inner child, and squash the idiosyncratic part of us that was once so spontaneous. When we reach a certain age, it begins to matter less what other people think and not taking ourselves so seriously becomes an option once again.

10. You learn not to criticize

As we get older, we learn there’s little value to be gained by criticizing anyone. If we need to say something, it’s far better to say something positive than dwell on what’s negative. By mid-life, we have learned through trial and error that positive reinforcement always puts us in a much better position.

11. You are thankful for growing old

Not everyone grows old. Many die before their time or in the prime of their life. With age comes gratitude and the knowledge that with every passing year we are privileged, and being grateful becomes a daily ritual that enhances our lives in so many positive ways.

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Featured photo credit: Senior Couple Enjoying Beach Holiday Running Down Dune via Shutterstock

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