Getting Older is a Joy

 Sometimes I look in the mirror and only see the things I dislike about myself: a bit of crow's feet around my eyes, a couple of sun spots, smile lines around my mouth, and the dreaded turkey neck. They are the (not so) subtle reminders that I'm not the young woman I once was. 

Growing old can sometimes be a bitter pill to swallow. If I dwell on it too long, I get wistful for the promise that my youth once held. I can feel my stomach sink when I think about how I wasted said youth doing stupid things and wandering through life without direction. That's the thing with youth, though, you think the future is so far away that you have ample time to bring forth the things you want from life.

News flash: you don't. If I could go back in time and confront my younger self, I'd slap her into reality. Alas, I do not have that luxury. 

Now, having said all that, there are things about being older that are truly great and magical. So, instead of pining for my lost youth, I'm going to focus on the here and now. Here are (some of) the things that make being older so great.

Saying no is incredibly easy. 

For many reasons, saying no can be difficult when you're young. Now that I'm older, if I don't want to do something I just say no. Rarely do I get anyone begging for me to change my mind, but when they do, I stick to my guns.

I quit caring about how others think of me. 

People might not like how I act, the things I do, the things I enjoy, or be upset if I'm not going to babysit their kid for them (as one example), but I don't give a shit. I'm not here to sacrifice my own feelings or my life for yours. 

I have better friends.

When you're younger you choose quantity over quality, but when you get older the opposite is true. I'd rather have a handful of amazing friends than an army of so-so friends.

I have confidence.

It's rare to be young and truly confident (not to be confused with bravado). We're all a little lost and trying to figure ourselves out for a long time after we first become adults. When you're older, you know who you are and what you want.

I have more control over my life.

I've got my shit figured out. I have learned and devised systems that help me manage my life thereby giving me a level of control that I never had when I was young. This is helped by the previous things on this list.

I know what I want and am always working towards those things.

When you get older, you figure out that you can't just let the chips fall where they may indefinitely. At some point, you need to mark out at least a 5-year plan or both 5 and 10-year ones. Goals without direction are just dreams, nothing more.

I find joy in all things, not just the big things.

Sure, the big things in life can bring us lots of joy, but so can lots of little things. I find joy in my first sip of weekend coffee, setting eyes on my son after a month apart, having charcuterie with friends, among many others. Life is short - enjoy EVERYTHING.

I'm happier.

All the above things make me a happier person. It helps that I also don't take crap. Like I always say, "I ain't got time for bullshit."

I feel secure.

Again, due to the aforementioned things. It also helps immensely that I am good with my personal finances as financial security IS security.

I'm still in decent shape.

If you put in even the smallest amount of effort to eat better and get some regular exercise, you can keep yourself relatively healthy. Except for a few aches and pains here and there, I still feel about as physically fit as I did in my 20s. Being able to live a long healthy life depends on your body being healthy. In other words, getting older isn't necessarily a health detriment as long as you put in the effort.

While I can't go back in time to my 20s, backpack around Europe, meet my European prince, and build a bougie life in an arrondissement in Paris, I can (and do) love my life now. Getting older has a lot of perks. I'd do best to remember that.


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