From comments and reflections from my previous post on 5 advantages of getting old(er), it seems that I am not the only one thinking about this. Let’s try a few more.
Again, in no particular order:
- You have the privilege of watching your children (and nieces, nephews, former students, and friends’ kids) develop into caring, responsible adults and parents. They have become people you want to have as friends, people you are proud to know, and people who are more than able to take over as we slow down. My father died when his kids were on the cusp of becoming young adults (we were 19 (me), 18, and 15). I remember the minister at his funeral saying that one of the greatest tragedies of his untimely death was that he would missing knowing his children as adults. I just couldn’t understand how that was part of the tragedy. Now I do.
- If you are so lucky as to have grandchildren, it is truly a gift. The joy of being a grandparent is real. You get to enjoy them, break the rules, and then hand them back. [If you are the main caregiver or are exhausted from too much of a good thing, I apologize for waxing lyrical; I couldn’t help myself.] It is especially gratifying to discover, through having grandchildren, that your kids learned more of what you kept telling them than was evident at the time. Hearing one of my sons gently but firmly say to his little daughter, “No, Clara, we don’t throw our food on the floor” for the first time was reaffirming in the extreme!
- The maxim “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is true. Life inevitably throws challenges our way; they’re unavoidable. Life challenges can include unimaginable tragedies, enormous disappointments, changes in plan over which you had no control, debilitating illness, you name it. What we learn is that, for the most part, we find coping mechanisms we didn’t know we had. We become stronger. We come to know what we are capable of. We survive. We even thrive. (Thanks to Lynda Homer for reminding me of this.)
- When you are able to retire, you can throw away your alarm clock. You can get up when you want, go to bed when you want, and take a nap whenever you want. It is worth waiting for!
- Be grateful for getting old(er). Embrace it. Not everyone gets to experience this phase of life!
Thanks to those of you who have given me some additional ideas. Keep sharing. I’ll work on fleshing out another 5 advantages for a future post.