Many people are excited about their retirement, but I have never heard someone say, “I want to have gray hair, wrinkly skin, an incomplete set of teeth!” or “I want to grow old!” It seems like the general population does not see aging in a positive light. This is because we perceive this natural phenomenon as a decline. We even use aging as a fun excuse when we forget or fail to do things that young people can smoothly perform.
Keep reading since we are going to shift that perspective as we tackle the bright side of aging.
1. With age comes wisdom
In a study conducted by Richard Nisbett, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, et al., they concluded that older people are wiser for group and personal conflicts. This is the general finding regardless of each one’s level of intelligence. The researchers divided the subjects into three groups— ages 20 to 40, 41 to 60, and 60 and up—and asked them to reflect on conflicting scenarios. Their answers were rate for their ability to use intelligence for the social good.
Those that belong to the third age group garnered higher wisdom scores compared to the other groups. Although people often associate old age with mental decline, S. Duke Han, neuropsychology assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, suggests that older adults tend to use more of their frontal lobes to make up for other cognitive declines. So if you are having a hard time dealing with communal conflicts, you can rest assured that you’ll get better at it when you grow old.
2. You’ll value your job more
Once you hit 60 or 65, you’ll have the option many workers have been waiting for: retirement. However, you can either go that route or continue having a job. Millions of age 65-plus Americans work either full time or part-time. Through all the experiences and skills you have gathered, you can also find employers who will see the value of employing such a seasoned worker who has kept his mind sharp and is still willing to do some mental work.
Many elderly who have found their “Ikigai” or purpose of living through the work that they do tend to be happier and have longer lives. Those who have retired and find their hands empty of work tend to be more anxious since they have more time to think. Of course, it would still depend on individual perceptions, but older people who remained working past their retirement age feel productive and contributing to society.
3. You’ll receive better treatment
It is said that a society is measured by how it cares for the elderly. The government recognizes seniors as one of the vulnerable groups in society. Hence, there are several laws mandated to making the lives of senior citizens better. You’ll receive better health care. You can have access to priority lanes so you can grin past the long queue. You’ll reap your Social Security benefits.
In addition, you’ll get discounts! So make sure you always have your senior citizen ID with you. If your family also has a lot on their plates, you can go to an assisted living facility where you will feel at home. Life doesn’t have to spiral down; you will be assisted or still be active and have more friends.
4. You’ll be more carefree and content
Once you reach the age of the elderly, you’ll find yourself more carefree as the looks other people make, your mismatched socks; your monotonous outfit suddenly won’t seem to be a big deal at all. Since you have all the time in the world, you can stop and smell the flowers or pick some in another’s garden, and you might even receive a smile instead of a scowl. You get to see the sunrise more often as you become a morning person.
When you become old, you realize that what used to keep you up at night when you were young didn’t even matter at all. You’ll have fewer worries, and you probably wouldn’t even worry at all since you’ve been there and done that. Now that you know better, gray hair means power.
Despite the negative connotation of aging, being wiser, appreciating your job more, receiving better treatment, and being more carefree and content do not seem to be bad at all. Of course, this is if we age well. Hence, we have to start ironing our minds, taking care of our bodies, and contributing more to society so that when old age comes, we’ll begin reaping what we sow.