What’s so bad about getting old?

We’re all getting older.

Believe it or not, we’re also not getting any younger.

Life marches on slowly, at a pace frustratingly outside our control.

Do you look forward to getting older?

Our whole childhood we were conditioned to look forward to something.

When we were toddlers, we learned that when we went to kindergarten, we would be a big boy or a big girl (whatever that means).

Then it’s high school.

Then it’s being able to drive a car.

Then it’s finding your first real job or going to university.

Then it’s maybe getting married? Then maybe, getting kids, someday?

Then what? Is there anything to look forward to after that? I mean, we’ll all get to die eventually, I suppose.

There’s that point when you get old enough and have accomplished enough things that you’re tempted to go back and tell the younger version of your self that it’s all a trap; we never should have been looking forward to growing-up.

Stay a kid forever. Live in the present.

Be a lost boy from Neverland, always hanging around Peter Pan… or something like that.

We’re told over and over again to stay young as long as possible.

It’s pretty easy to see why this is a societal narrative on an economic level; young people are impulsive, impulsive people buy more things. Young people are less rooted, they’re easier to convince or sell to.

Then we get old. And we’re told that old people are jaded, and bitter, or lame, or whatever. So the agist story goes.

But what if getting older was a marvelous thing?

What if it were better to fade away than to burn out – or better yet, to keep on burning?

I noticed a shift around 26 or so – my priorities got altered. Now apparently this is a normal part of brain development, but all of the sudden I started to develop less interest in spontaneity, having a large friend group, exploring exotic and new ideas, idealism, and living unpredictable days.

Since then, I’ve developed more of a need for consistency, definition of what’s at my centre, stability, practicality, developing good habits and responsibility. It’s actually been quite dramatic – and I’ve talked to a few other friends who are of similar age who have noticed the same thing about themselves in the last few years.

Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so, I think it’s just a part of getting older.

Because constantly looking for what’s new and exciting gets tiring after awhile. 

Here’s the thing: I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

This is not to say that I still don’t have down days, but on the whole I would say I’m more content to just take life as it comes.

When I compare myself to who I was five years ago, I feel more secure in who I am, and am more likely to stand up for my principles, beliefs, and values.

At the same time, I feel like I have more grace for people who see things differently than me.

I also am more in control of my own habits.

I eat better, exercise more often, and waste time less.

I’m noticing my Christian identity moving away from idealism and more into faith.

I say things I regret less often, and in general am more careful and more intentional with my words.

I care more for family and investing deeply in a few relationships around me – and care less about my social standing (and spend less time on Facebook!).

I require less stimulation and have more appreciation for the slow and simple things in life.

All this being said, I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be. I’m also not rejecting priorities of my youth; they’re just taking a back seat for now.

This is also not me comparing myself to other people (something that I also do less than I used to). This is me comparing myself to myself over time – and noting the changes I’ve seen. I’m just trying to get a little wiser as I get a little older.

However more years I have left, whether that’s five or fifty of a hundred, I want to continue growing as a whole person with more capacity to serve others.

Maybe that’s what adulthood is all about. Is that really something to be afraid of or rebel against?

I don’t think so.

We’re all getting older everyday – so we might as well embrace it!

 

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