Life Gets Better_Benefits of Aging

Life Gets Better: Benefits of Aging

Guest Blogger Aging Gracefully Empowerment

We are delighted to feature today’s guest blogger, Jane Gramlich, as part of our Aging Gracefully series. Jane is a long-time educator who now devotes her time to teaching people 50+ how to get clear and get started on what’s next for them.

My predominant thought about aging had always been, “I hope it doesn’t happen to me.” I’m quite sure I’m not the only person who has thought this way. But the irony catches up with us – in order for aging not to happen to us, we would have to die. Now or very soon. The truth slowly dawns that aging is inevitable.

As I left my forties behind and began the race through my fifties, I just wanted to shout, “Hey, hold on here! Slow down!” The physical, mental, spiritual, and social changes I experienced felt overwhelming at times. It especially bothered me that I had people close to me who had given up on life once they reached the age I was quickly approaching. They stopped trying, doing, and enjoying. That kind of existence held no appeal and made no sense to me.

What Gets Better with Age

 Changing focus changes everything so, I challenged the idea that as we age we only lose. There had to be more to advanced age than that. I began to look for evidence that life at middle age and beyond had purpose, meaning, joy and beauty. It became my quest for what I call the 50+ Advantages. While the physical results of age are real and apparent, the nonphysical changes are there, too. I think we can find them and use them to benefit ourselves and the world.

As I began to watch for and pay attention to what showed up for me, I did discover some pretty cool things happening. These were real enough to establish patterns in my life. Here’s what I found:

  1. These days I know things. I just know them with certitude and calmness. Things that would come to be. Or things about how the universe really works.
  2. Some of the most difficult times of my past, of my growing up years, began to make sense. I experienced a reframing of sorts, not because I should, but because I could. And without the drama.
  3. I found that the more I was open to delightful surprises, the more I experienced them in the world and the people around me.
  4. Physically slowing down opened new doors for me. I’m in better shape physically, mentally, and spiritually. I take time for classes, inspirational reading, tapping, journaling, yoga, walking, and dancing.
  5. It’s so much easier to let go of and discard: things, ideas, people, attitudes, and norms that just don’t serve me well.
  6. It’s usually best to do, be, and pursue what pleases me. I get the best outcomes for myself and others when I focus my energy this way.
  7. I appreciate myself in so many ways that I never dreamed of when I was younger.
  8. Generosity, gratitude, peace, and contentment are so much more prevelant in my day to day living.
  9. I no longer feel compelled to fix or “help” others when it is not my place to do so.
  10. I have a tremendous desire to share. I feel a definite calling to impact the greater good in my own unique way. I’m enjoying every minute of answering the call.

Aging Gracefully graphic

Positive Aging

I see evidence of this same desire to practice positive aging mirrored in the world around me. It’s a cultural movement. Online media plays a big part in this, and I see examples everyday.

  • Huffington Post recently shared stories of 25 celebrities who are aging gracefully, with a focus on the advantages. You can check out what they say here.
  • My Facebook and Twitter feeds regularly carry lists, stories, and ideas about the advantages of advanced age. Real people with real experiences. So many are accomplishing so much!

Organizations and groups exist to match up older people and their skills with community needs. Ideas of retirement, working,  and living at 50 and beyond continue to expand in the most amazing ways. There are movements on a national level by powerful groups, such as AARP and the US Government to study and better the concept and reality of aging today. It’s more apparent each day that there is much we can do, individually and as a society, to leverage the best of what aging allows for us.

How about you? How do you view aging? What are some of the advantages that you have found for yourself? Please share your discoveries, so that we can all benefit.

You can follow Jane at janegramlich.com where she’ll be blogging regularly about the 50+ Advantages.
You can also connect with her on Facebook at facebook.com/50PlusFieldGuide

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Guest Blogger

Comments 74

  1. Oh, Jane, I just love these! Having gotten as well to an age, all 10 of what you’ve found resonate with me. I’m still struggling with # 4–slowing down. Sheesh! I feel as though I’m often still running. But oh-so true on the knowing, the reframing, the letting go, the pleasing and appreciating myself. Not to mention the gratitude, peace, contentment and generosity. And how freeing it is to lose the need to fix others 🙂
    Just love this!

    1. Susan Mary Malone, I was so pleased that Jane accepted my request. Somehow I went through my 60’s without being conscious about it and couldn’t recapture what I wanted others to relate to. Now that I passed my mid 70’s some signs of aging are really pronounced. All the good things and benefits are still present, but the automatic wear of body parts, like giving in to getting a hearing aid, intruded and I could no longer ignore it. I was beginning to think ‘I feel… ‘ & cancelled that out & said, ‘I will hear everyone better’. I think my family will appreciate it.

  2. This is lovely, Jane. I am in my midforties and do notice that I am more willing to take risks in life. Much more daring than my teenage children. I hope my thirst for knowledge continues well in to my 80s. =) Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. Thank you, Sabrina. That’s interesting about being willing to take risks. I can see some instances for myself. I look forward to learning and experiencing more, too.

    2. My advice to you Sabrina is to have as much adventure as possible. If that includes risk-taking, so be it. I do believe it keeps you feeling young, vibrant, open to life.

  3. A wonderful celebration of our living, Jane and Roslyn. It also brought back memories of an incident that took place decades ago.

    When I was 24 and studying in London, one of my fellow colleagues and good friend had a family guest who was 18 years old visit him from India. I was invited to join them for a night at a famous disco. In a moment of quiet girl talk, this teenager asked me my age and then commented, ‘Wow, you’re that old! How do you maintain yourself?’. I put it down to the cocktails and let it go. It was clear she had a crush on my friend and he could handle it. 🙂

    Over a quarter of a century later, its a compliment.

    What I love about growing older and aging is that the small things that got me flustered don’t bother me, the acne is no longer an issue and I’m happier with myself which means I am able to make the people who matter to me happy – family, Miss Coco and friends who are the colors that enhance the fabric of my life.

    1. Great story, Vatsala. Age and perception of age can be very different things, especially for the young. I agree with you about not getting flustered or so bothered by little things. And yes, the happier we are with ourselves, the more happiness we can give to others.

  4. Vatsala Shukla, thanks for sharing your experience. A great example of perspective which does change with experience. I may borrow your poetic line, ‘…who are the colors that enhance the fabric of my life.

  5. This was quite inspiring to read. It dawned on me recently that I am actually aging. It hasn’t been just yesterday since I got out of high school. It has been a bit longer than that. So, this really helps me put it all in perspective.

    1. It is clear Carol Rundle that as your health has improved and you found your purpose, that you are really coming into your prime. Life is exciting for you and it shows in how you conduct yourself and your business.

  6. What a wonderfully uplifting and inspiring article. I loved it! For me, the biggest positive of aging is the strength and determination to make time for the things I want to do where once I was doing all the things everyone else wanted me to do. Unlike many I know, I’m not happy to settle for contentment – I want to keep learning and achieving and growing and challenging myself and this makes me proud of who I’ve become. I hate that my body is slowing down but I love the way you see that as a challenge to become more active and fit.

    1. Tamuria, I loved Jane’s article too as it helped remind me how I felt in my 60’s. So pleased I am continuing learning, growing, taking on new tasks despite the numerous challenges. My body did slow down & I watched it and almost let it get away from me. Fortunately, I have many supporters who saw my resignation and just won’t leave me alone.

  7. For me as I approach 50 I see that I won’t be here on this earth forever and I am ok with that so I realize I need to have a relationship with my Savior. I have developed a prayer routine in the morning that I can no longer live without and my faith has grown. I now see how to prioritize my life better because of my relationship with God.

    1. I agree with you, Karen, on both points. When I acknowledged the fact that the greater part of my life is behind me and less and less lies ahead of me, my connection to Source and eternity did and continues to deepen. It that connection that empowers me to make the best of this stage of life, day by day.

  8. I love this post and can relate to everything on your list… such a shifting of priorities and the ways we allocate our time. Thank you.

  9. Wonderful post. I am almost 40 and have felt my age lately but the understanding of my life and being able to audit it to get to my authentic self us priceless. Thank you for this confirmation!

  10. Beautiful post, Jane! Yes, being a student of biography and our biographical cycles, most of what you have experienced and share, is in fact part of the maturing through our biography cycles. Especially the part about being of service to the greater good. While reading this, I couldn’t help but think of Dr. Christiane Northrup’s message to all of us Goddesses, “Getting older is inevitable, aging is not.”

    Although we do change in many ways as we get older, the one thing that doesn’t have to change is how we proactively make choices on our own behalves. If we buy into the “aging” mentality, than yes, we will age. I also believe the magnitude of numbers of boomers, has really changed the conversation on aging as well. What generations of past accepted and lived, is not what our generation wants to live and we have many more choices because of advances in research and technology. We can make different choices than our parents or their parents did. Personally, I am healthier and stronger as a “middle-aged hippie”, than I was during all the decades it took me to arrive here! I enjoyed reading about your journey and how comfortable you’ve become in your own being!

    1. As always Beverley, your comment is a fabulous contribution to the conversation. This topic touches on so many areas of your expertise and interests. You have been a major supporter lifting me out of resignation & I appreciate the reminder, “Getting older is inevitable, aging is not.”
      I talk about reinvention, mostly in the arena of career & business, but you keep reminding me it can apply to body & health which impacts life and aging. Jane reminded me this fabulous blog of how I felt thru my 60’s, so I’ll take this time to thank you both for making a big difference in my mindset.

    2. Thank you, Beverly. It’s awesome to share this journey with so many others! I am amazed every day at the evidence of people using the advantages they have found in aging. And thank you, Roz, for giving me the push to step out and share my own advantages.

  11. Terrific piece! I am a Woman of a Certain Age (coming up on 64 in about a week) and have always celebrated my birthdays as an affirmation of life…and survival. I agree with all you points about the advantages of getting older. The death of both my parents has made me cherish aging more than ever. I will say, however, that I was taken aback when my neighbor — a Mary Kay consultant — gave me some skin-care samples that were designated for women showing signs of “advanced aging.” 😉 I surely don’t see that when I look in the mirror!

    1. The life in you Jackie Harder comes out in your face, so you wouldn’t see signs of aging. One of my daughters-in-law is a Mary Kay consultant who has asked me if I wanted to try any ‘advanced aging’ products. As people who look at my face say, where are your lines & wrinkles, I declined since I never put anything on my face my entire life other than water, why ruin a good thing.

    2. Thank you, Jackie. You are one of the many awesome examples that just lift me up. “Advanced Aging” isn’t a battle to fight. I definitely view people at midlife and beyond as “advanced adults” with many advantages.

  12. Lovely article and a great 10 list for any age but certainly a lovely inspiration for aging gracefully consciously and with more presence.

  13. I’m still in the under 50s age group, but really enjoyed reading your post. When I was in grad school we watched a video about the differences in aging for people who were happy to be growing older and those that considered it a negative experience. The differences were astounding. Those that believed that aging was positive fully embraced their lives and were clearly incredibly happy. That definitely wasn’t the case for those with a negative attitude. I’m so glad to see that more and more people are embracing the joy in aging.

    1. Thanks Jessica for sharing info from that video. More baby boomers are realizing the same thing and making headlines about the lives they are creating.

  14. Ahh, great tips, great truths, and so much love in your words. What a Mid-60s here, seasoned and well aware of the impact of every day and year on my body. So grateful for every bit of function and health I’ve got and every ounce of willingness and desire to get the most out of each moment.

    Blessed be! (Off to share this with my tribe.)

    1. Appreciate your contribution to the conversation, Sue Kearney. Once mid-seasoned we have a bit of perspective on the decades we have traveled thru. Gratitude and conscious living all go a long way toward the next decades being fulfilling.

  15. Great article. I have experienced many of these ‘aging’ issues myself. Am in the 60+ group and never could have imagined how much better life could be at this age. Inside I do feel like 35 years old of course, but looking in the mirror takes care of that illusion.
    I find that I am more relaxed about many things that seemed SO important when I was younger.

    1. Thanks, Aleen Geed for reminding us how things that used to matter seem less important today. We must need the years to get the wisdom of this perspective.

  16. I am coming into my own as a woman in her 50’s – finally getting comfortable in my own skin, finally able to look at the past and separate my truth from all the stories I grew up with. It’s amazing and powerful, and, yes, also scary at times to see the changes. So nice to have conversation about what so many of us face feeling that we are all alone.

  17. Jane and Roslyn, thank you so much for such a terrific article. I have come to love myself completely with all my scars, wrinkles, stretch marks and experience. I feel like the older I get, the better I get. I’m not quite 50 yet but I actually look forward to it! Your article really demonstrates the power of self-love and aging! I really learned to appreciate aging when I took care of my parents full-time.

    1. Appreciate your comment and contribution to the conversation Tandy Elisala. Given how you have arrived at self-love, your future looks very bright.

    2. Thank you, Tandy. It’s so nice to see you realizing before the age of 50 that is so many ways the older you get, the better you get. I also feel that watching and caring for our parents informs our own aging. I consciously think about the impact my journey may have on my daughter’s, too.

  18. Absolutely powerful and inspiring post Jane!! Thank you for pointing out that aging DOES not have to mean to stop living, it simply means those big things that we attached so much drama too in our early years are not so big anymore 😉 We can live on our “own” terms and age the way we want too…..that is gracefully and in our own way 🙂

    Great post! Thank you for inspiring all of us over 50 that have so much MORE to look forward too 😉

    1. Appreciate your comment Joan Harrington. For some strange reason, it took awhile to recognize all the drama. Thankfully, everyone is talking about it and we get wiser earlier.

    2. Thank you, Joan. I love your words, “aging does not mean to stop living.” That captures everything! And thank you again, Roz, for providing this space to talk about this.

  19. Jane & Roslyn – thank you for this guest post! The idea that we see our past in a different perspective is so true – I remember a neighbor girl who got pregnant before she was married, and her family disowned her. Of course, this was 50 years ago, but now, I see things in such a different perspective – the neighbor, the family, the young mom’s daughter, etc. This is just one example of the perspective change we acquire over the years. We could all probably list a zillion such examples!

    1. The example you give Joan Poter is only one such difference in generations. We are seeing revolutionary changes in record time, some because of internet wisdom, cultural melding and overall advancement. We can roll with it or fight it but one thing is certain, we all have options on how we view living life which will affect how we age.

  20. Great piece, Jane.
    I do find I care less about how I’m perceived as I age, and have more of a desire to make a loving impact on the world through my work, actions an how I raise my son.

    1. Thanks for your comment Kim. You point to a universal wisdom that comes with maturity. I also believe motherhood affects our priorities.

  21. Love this post and its focus on the positive aspects of aging. We earn so much in each decade of our lives – how to pay attention to what really matters and let the minor inconveniences go. Jane and Roz – you are a powerful duo!!

  22. When I think of what gets better with aging it reminds me of my bff in HS and me… I got married and had 2 kids at early 20s and she got with her honey and by the time I am divorcing mine, she is getting married and starting her family, 10 years later. I look at her raising her kids and think… damn.. she is really enjoying it. Not saying that I didn’t, but with those extra 10+ years of life experience and maturity, it is no wonder she enjoys it more.

    1. Kristen Wilson, I remember when I got married at 22 I thought I was so adult. Today I look at 22-year-olds and think they are not ready to get married. But each person matures differently, has different desires at each age. We can all look back and see areas we would have made other choices.

  23. The idea of things getting better with age is so true and so profound. When I was in my early 20s I would have laughed at such a notion, and thought to myself “Oh, that’s just something you tell yourself when you’re getting old”…but then again, I was absolutely clueless and frankly, young and dumb, back then.
    Sure, I don’t care for my slowing metabolism or how I seem to have less energy and lower alcohol tolerance…LOL! but…I’m happy to be so much more knowledgeable about life in general than I was before — AND knowing that it’ll only improve, because I’ll learn so much more as time goes by, is so exciting for me! Being able to let go of people who have made it clear that they don’t care for me the same way I care for them, is much easier today than it was 10 years ago.
    The biggest thing I have learned since my teens and early 20s is that I can say NO. Saying NO is important for my own health and sanity; today I no longer spread myself so thin that I can’t function.
    What a great post, Roz, I love this one!

    1. Love your enthusiasm and really appreciate your contribution to this conversation, Natalie Palombi. Your comment, “I’m happy to be so much more knowledgeable about life in general than I was before — AND knowing that it’ll only improve because I’ll learn so much more as time goes by, is so exciting for me!” warms my heart. You, Jane and I each look at aging from different decades and we see the same thing, the benefits of aging.

  24. What a remarkable blog post. I hit middle age with an attitude that maybe I would be slowing down and forgetting more. When in reality, you are slowing down and understanding more. I discard needless information now and actually concentrate on more what matters to me and my family and place less emphasis on what others think I should know and do.

    I love the fact we can celebrate who we are at this stage rather than trying to prove what we think.

    1. Appreciate your thoughts Melanie Boylan and glad this post resonated with you. Love the transition from ‘forgetting more to understanding more’. A profound way to see aging. Thanks

  25. The best part for me is being able to do what I want. If I want to stay up late, it’s okay. If I want to sleep in late, it’s okay. No job to rush to. Here, I am free to create and explore. I’m also reminded of this famous Betty Davis quote of “Old Age is not For Sissies” and neither is aging. If you decide you’re up for it, go for it with gusto.

  26. Hi Roslyn and Jane,

    What a beautiful post about aging! It is silly when we reach our 30s and we start panicking because we are getting “old”. I read all the comments and I am grateful that I learn so much from you all beautiful women! Your words are inspiring, so next time I complain that I am old, I will revisit this post. Thank you!

    Zaria

  27. Life does get better with age providing we have taken care of ourselves leading up to whatever age we are. I love what one of our nutrition speakers used to say about taking care of yourself. “You want to be all there when you get there!” That applies to mental, physical, emotional, and Spiritually.

    1. Appreciate your contribution to this conversation, Pat Moon. You have been supporting the perspective you quoted, “You want to be all there when you get there!” online, in groups and posts and many are listening. Indeed, many are joining with more knowledge to keep ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually daily. Awareness and conversation keep it alive.

  28. Pingback: How to Find the Advantages Aging Has for You - Jane Gramlich, your 50+ Field Guide

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