A few weeks ago, I friend of mine (who is over 50) had a birthday. I sent him message saying happy birthday, and something like, “Well, you’re into your fifties now.” His response, “I actually like aging.” My text back: “Really? I hate it.”
I got to thinking about his comment, especially since my bday is coming up this weekend and I am turning 52. Now, remember that “I actually like aging” came from a guy, so the credibility of that statement to a woman isn’t the greatest.
I mean, let’s be honest. Physically, men in general do much better than women when it comes to aging. Why? I think it’s mostly because they aren’t as vain as women, i.e. they don’t worry about every little wrinkle and varicose vein, not to mention their metabolisms don’t completely shut down after the age of 50. Oh, and let’s not forget about those fun hot flashes.
All that said, I ended up calling my friend and asking him what he meant by “I actually like aging,” and we had a conversation. Here are a few of his quotes:
“It’s turned out being better than I thought it would. When I was younger, when I looked at the age I am now, it looked bleak, but being here doesn’t feel that way at all. No matter how many experiences we have or how much we think we’ve learned, there is always new things, there are always new lessons, always ways for ourselves and life to get better. So, each day, there is a possibility there is something better than the day before.”
“I was one stubborn fuck, and I’m softer now. As I’ve gotten older, the urge to resist or to fight or to battle has lessened. I let things happen, and just go with it and accept things. When I was younger I was more opinionated and set in my ways and to let that go a little bit and not be immovable is surprisingly a wonderful feeling.”
“We are creatures of habit as humans, and every day can become a repetitive routine, so it’s up to each of us to realize that there is always new possibilities either inside or outside our current existence. You can have big life changes, like romantic relationships, kids growing up, illness, financial issues, or it can come from within. It’s when people start to think, ‘This is how it is and nothing is ever going to be different and it’s going to be this way forever,’ that can be depressing for people.”
“Regarding physical changes, healthy aging is a gift. I can’t speak for those aging with disease or significant disability, but I do know that some of those people have great attitudes and they figure out how to increase the quality of life. But even people who are generally healthy, things don’t work the way they used to and it can be frustrating. It helps not to always use as the frame of reference ‘how I used to be.’ Just embrace how you are, and that you are lucky to have the opportunity to do and feel whatever it is you are doing. Stop thinking, ‘I don’t look or feel the way I used to feel,’ or ‘When I was 30, my body was so much better.’ You’ve got to shake those comparisons and just have gratitude for what you still have. When you do that, all ages seem kind of the same.”
I agree with all of these things in regards to being over 50, and the more I think about it, the more I think maybe aging isn’t so bad. Let’s not get crazy, I mean physically it’s not fun. Hair color and skin treatments and dieting and peri menopause and new chronic conditions and vitamin deficiencies and cortisol surges are just the tip of the iceberg.
But emotionally, I think there are a lot of good things that come with aging. I’m not going to say this is true for all people over 50, but I have found these 8 benefits to being over 50:
1. I’m less afraid to show vulnerability than I was at a younger age. In turn, romantic relationships are so much deeper and more fulfilling. I wish so much that I would have figured this out at a younger age! “Vulnerability Is Sexy!” to quote a great brand!
2. I have kind of reached a point of self-confidence, like… “This is me, you either like me or you don’t and if you don’t, that’s ok.” That attitude is very empowering and prevents people from being disappointed and/or frustrated when it comes to dating.
3. I feel like I have this newfound calmness and grace, like things don’t bother me as much as they used to. I will admit I began taking Ashwagandha a few months ago and that seriously might be the difference. Nonetheless, it takes a lot to piss me off. I wasn’t always that way.
4. I feel immense gratitude for my kids, my family, my boyfriend and everyone I love and care about in my life, as well as things I have. I really have always been that way, but it’s become much more pronounced in my personality lately. It makes me like myself more.
5. I don’t have these crazy expectations in relationships. It’s just nice to have such a deep connection. That’s really all that matters. Young women focus so much on “Where is this relationship going.” I’m not saying they are wrong to do so, but it’s really nice when you just don’t care anymore, and you find yourself appreciating every day with someone you love.
6. I love more deeply. As a result, my relationships—romantic, family and friends are more meaningful and enjoyable. I also stay away from toxic relationships. In my youth I never had the guts to walk away from those who made me feel badly about myself or who were negative or who just made me feel badly in general. Now, if it is affecting me, I’m done.
7. I’m not afraid to admit mistakes and say I’m sorry. I have more self-awareness. As a result, there is less tension in relationships, less arguing or bickering. I tell it like it is so much more than I used to. I also admit fault so much more. You’d be surprised that if you do that, the other person’s defenses come down and they start to admit fault and then you find yourself in a big love fest instead of feeling resentful.
8. I’m less selfish and more thoughtful and insightful about what someone might be feeling. I listen a lot more instead of talk. I try to empathize more and put myself in someone else’s shoes. Being more considerate makes relationships so much better.
Like this article? Check out, “Love Over 50: Love Never Felt So Good.”