While aging often gets a bad rap, there are actually many positives only experienced by those entering the grey brigade. Getting older has its perks – so here are a few that prove that aging might not be the negative experience it’s often made out to be. Welcome to the bright side of aging!
You have more free time
Retirement gives you bucket-loads of free time to spend any way you choose – with friends or loved ones, doing crafts, hobbies or sports, or just watching movies or relaxing without any agenda. Whatever you want to do, it’s your choice – you might even have time to pursue passions or goals that have been put on hold throughout the busy phase of life. It’s never too late to achieve that long-held dream.
You need less sleep
Older people need on average about 1.5 hours less sleep than younger people according to recent studies – giving you more awake time to spend enjoying life.
You can enjoy being a grandparent
Getting older and having grandchildren means you can enjoy all the benefits of having children without any of the frustrations or sleepless nights – you can just hand them back to their parents at the end of the day! Your grandchildren will enjoy spending time with the people who love them unconditionally but don’t have to be the bad guys with discipline.
A happier and more relaxed outlook
It might surprise some people, but studies show that older people are among the happiest groups of people, and are significantly happier than their middle-aged counterparts. This could be due to many reasons, such as being more comfortable with who they are, having better coping abilities during hardships, and having an aging brain which seems to be hardwired to remember the good times rather than the bad. Studies have also found that levels of anger decline steadily from the 20s onwards, with stress levels falling off a cliff in the over 50s. Many people see their older years as the happiest ones of their life, and wish they had learned to enjoy their lives more when they were younger.
While the decline in brain cells as we age is well-documented, researchers are finding that older brains are actually turning out to be smarter in a number of vitally important abilities. For instance, while older people aren’t as good at maths skills and are slower to respond to commands, for problem solving abilities, spatial orientation, vocabulary and verbal memory, older people are better in their late 40s and 50s than they were in their 20s. All the knowledge accumulated over the years leads to increased wisdom, a better perspective on what’s important, and greater ability to problem-solve and make decisions.
Better social skills and empathy
Studies have found that seniors have superior social and empathetic abilities than younger people. Older people find it easier to manage their emotions, having spent decades mastering the skill, and are able to focus less on negativity and the opinions of other people. Older people can also deal with social conflicts more effectively, and are generally better than younger ones at imagining different points of view, and thinking of resolutions and compromises.
Fewer medical problems such as headaches, colds and allergies
Chronic migraine sufferers report experiencing significantly fewer migraines, shorter duration of migraines, and lower pain intensity as they age. As well, there’s a sweet spot for people aged from their 40s through to their mid 70s where their immune system remembers and is resistant to viruses experienced over the years, resulting in fewer colds. There’s good news for those with allergies too, with symptoms declining once people get into their 50s and 60s. Older people also become less sweaty, as sweat glands shrink and become less numerous as you age.
Senior discounts help people save money and make the most of their retirement, as they are often offered on services that help older people stay active and engaged, such as medication, entertainment, dining and transport.
You stop caring what others think
As people get older, they become more aware of what they are capable of and don’t sell themselves short any more. As a result, what other people think becomes much less important, and older people are more likely to base their choices on what they want to achieve rather than what others think of them. Priorities become clearer and we realise what matters – and what doesn’t.
Fewer major life decisions to make
Older people have already made most of the major life-changing decisions they’re likely to make – such as choice of career, life partner, children, where to live etc. They don’t have to worry so much about how things will turn out, as they’ve already been there and done that. And they often have a sense of pride and accomplishment over what they’ve achieved throughout their life.
So there you have it – old age doesn’t have to be beset with low expectations, fears and declining mental and physical health. Focus on the benefits and stay positive – there’s a silver lining even to growing older.