Day 175. Older’s Better

After’s yesterday’s story, about how quickly time seems to pass as you get older, I thought I’d explore the benefits of aging, today.  How’s that for a positive statement?  Garden pathway along sunny flower wall leading into the distanceThe benefits of aging.

I know.  You think I’ve gone mad.  Well, prepare to be surprised.

Think about it for a minute.  Ours may be a youth-centric culture, but not everything around us is.

Many wines mature and become better over time.  And more valuable.  The longer you age cheese, the better it tastes.  In fact some cheeses are aged for as long as three hundred years.  Imagine.

Art and artifacts and furniture are worth more with each passing year.  In fact, the more ‘worn’ they are, the more the paint is peeling, the more scratched and shabby they all are, the more we covet them; and the more we’re willing to pay.  If Van Gogh and Michelangelo and Monet and Modigliani and every other artist and artisan of yore, had even a clue how much money their work fetched nowadays, they’d never believe it.

What about vintage cars.  Collectors pay outrageous amounts of money for them, despite the fact you can barely get them to go 30 or 40 MPH.

And then there’s gardens.

To me, nothing is more beautiful than a big, old English garden.  Where everything is lush.  And full.  And voluptuous.  Almost over grown, but not quite.  Where the trees are huge and stately, with branches that extend out forever.  Where the flowers and plants have all ‘settled’ in.  When they’ve taken ‘ownership’ of their ‘territory’.

When they’re deeply rooted, with no chance of being carried off by a strong gust of wind.  When they drift over each other, over rocks and fences, benches and walls and even statues.  When they ‘mingle’ easily and naturally, like old friends, who have spent years together.  Old friends who know each other well, and are comfortable together.

Starting to get where I’m coming from?  I hope so.

For this reason:  I believe, like a garden, we ‘grow into ourselves’ as we age, as well.  We improve as we mature.  I know I am.  I’m far more comfortable in my skin now than I was when I was younger.  For one, I’m more confident.  The kind of ‘confident’ you can only get once you’ve traveled.  Loved.  Tried.  Failed.  Succeeded.  Experimented.  Fallen down.  Gotten up.  Made mistakes.  Lost.  Grieved.  Celebrated.

It’s called experience. Living.  And once you’ve done enough of it, you tend to believe in yourself more.

You speak your mind more.  You know your mind more.  You charge ahead more.  You have opinions.  Convictions.  And you’re not hesitant about sharing them.  On the contrary, you’re hard to stop.  You don’t waste precious time.  You appreciate more.  You’re willing to try more.   Throw caution to the wind more.  You do more.  And worry less.  Because you’ve survived more.

Because you’ve survived a hell of a lot.  So what have you got to lose?  Nothing.

Which is something you don’t know when you’re young.  When you’re just starting out.  When you haven’t been knocked about yet.  Learned your lessons yet.  Been around.  Collected any dust on you.  Ripened.  Mellowed.  Got some mileage.

Really, we should celebrate the grey hairs.  The crow’s feet.  The laugh lines.  The wrinkles.

They’re medals.

Like the markings on an antique, they add to our ‘value’.  They’re proof of all we’ve done, all we’ve accomplished, all we’ve learned, everywhere we’ve been, everything we’ve enjoyed, all those we’ve touched, all those we’ve changed, all those who have changed us, the impact we’ve made.

Makes me wonder if George Bernard Shaw was on to something when he said:  “Youth is wasted on the young.”

16 thoughts on “Day 175. Older’s Better

  1. There’s a part in Desperate Housewives (I know, but bear with me here) where a wife looks at her husband and tells him she doesn’t want him to have plastic surgery, because the wrinkles and frown lines are a map of their marriage…and that always stuck with me. I haven’t really any wrinkles yet, but I feel like each one will be hard one. I refuse to get botox.
    I’m still all young and full of self doubt and nerves, I always like to hear people say how much more confident or easier it gets when they are older…
    Also I love an English garden. I always wanted a garden of my own!

  2. You had me until wrinkles! I am NOT celebrating my wrinkles…but everything else. If there is one piece of wisdom I wish I would have had (or believed) when I was young, it would be to live for yourself and stop worrying about what people think. When you get there it is so liberating. You also find out that the important people (to you) like you anyway.

  3. There was a New York Times article a while back about studies showing that happiness declines from age 20 to age 50 and then increases after age 50. That’s great news for people over 50, but not so great for those of us who have years of declining happiness to anticipate first!

    • Don’t believe everything you read. My happiness has never declined. And I can say the same for most of the people I know.

      The older you get the more assured you are and the less you angst over small insignificant things; and those issues over which you have no control. You’re not as frantic to prove yourself because you’ve already done that. So you experience a different kind if happiness.

      But it’s everything you go through in your youth that gets you to the place I’ve described.

      There’s something to be happy about, to rejoice in at all the stages of your life. Each one is different is all.

  4. Great post. I’m only 31 but when I was younger I always imagined that there would be something dreadful about growing older but I loved hitting 30 and being out of the ‘finding yourself’ stage. It’s freeing. I can only imagine it gets better.

  5. Reblogged this on My Latter Half and commented:
    “It’s called experience. Living. And once you’ve done enough of it, you tend to believe in yourself more.”
    And further:
    “You speak your mind more. You know your mind more. You charge ahead more. You have opinions. Convictions. And you’re not hesitant about sharing them. On the contrary, you’re hard to stop. You don’t waste precious time. You appreciate more. You’re willing to try more. Throw caution to the wind more. You do more. And worry less. Because you’ve survived more.”

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