By Sharkie Zartmam
Okay, I get it. We are a society that idolizes youth. What could possibly be good about getting older? The terms anti-aging, ageless and fountain of youth have led many to believe that aging is something to be feared and somehow avoided. But the truth is, when we put another candle on our birthday cake, there is a lot to be thankful for. As we know, every living being ages and no one lives forever. But the cool thing is that we can control HOW we age with our lifestyles and attitudes. Instead of viewing the second half of life as a negative period of decline and disability, instead we can shift our view and see it as a challenge and also a privilege. Just look at all the people we know who didn't make it to 2017.
Along with actively participating in keeping our health and vitality by being accountable for our lifestyle choices, it really helps to realize that there are some great perks to getting older. Seniors definitely have an edge on their younger counterparts in some areas. Here are the Top Nine Perks of Aging.
- People over 50 tend to be happier than the younger generation.
In a survey conducted in San Diego, California of people aged 21 to 99, the results indicated that there was a clear relationship between age and mental health. The older the people were, the happier they felt. People in their 20's were stressed out and depressed and the happiest people were in their 90's. The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. The phenomenon is referred to as "the paradox of aging." How cool is this?
- Mindfulness becomes easier.
With all the research about how staying in the present moment benefits our health, this actually becomes easier as we age. We no longer care to think about where we will be in 20 or 30 years. We're happy to just be in the present!
- We no longer care what people think of us.
We can have more fun and not be concerned about looking immature or conforming to stereotypes. We already grew up and now we can be like a kid again! If we want to paint our nails all different colors or wear clothes that don't match, so what?
- We finally have time to follow our passion.
Going to school, getting a job, having a career, nurturing relationships, and paying the bills sometimes takes up most of our energy and time when we are younger. As things start to slow down, we can finally ask, "What do I want?" Getting excited about waking up in the morning to do what you want instead of what you have to do is fun!
- We appreciate life and enjoy things we never even noticed before.
My Dad always told me to "Slow down and smell the bees..." I think he meant roses, but now I know what he meant. I was always too busy to notice the simple amazing things in life, like a beautiful sunset, the sound of the waves, or how food actually tastes when you eat it slow.
- We have life experience that is invaluable.
Most of us have been there and done that. We can become great resources for the younger generation. So what if we don't know everything about computers and technology? We know how to communicate face to face and didn't have Google at our fingertips. We had to learn the hard way and apply what we learned to life.
- We no longer have to raise our children.
In fact, they better be nice to us if they want any money when we move on. And if grandkids come along, we can love them play with them, spoil them, and give them back.
- Seniors get great discounts!
At first I was embarrassed to ask for a senior discount, but now it is fun, especially when they ask to see my ID first. Take advantage of cheaper prices for movies, entertainment, food and travel. It all adds up.
- Self-Care is now a necessity instead of a guilty pleasure.
Yes, we now need those massages, facials, manicures, body treatments, and entertainment. We need to laugh and dance and have fun. It is important for our overall health now more than ever!
So the next time someone asks you your age, don't lie or be embarrassed. If you take good care of yourself, have good nutritional habits and a consistent exercise program, you won't look your age, and you will inspire others who are afraid of aging. Be a great role model and wear your age well. My Dad is 92, and he looks and acts like a vibrant man in his sixties. His motto is: "Everyday above the ground can be a great day. Don't waste it!"
Sharkie Zartman, MA is a college professor, a former All-American volleyball athlete and award winning volleyball coach. She hosts "Sharkie's PEP Talk" on Healthy Life radio, is a certified health coach and is the author of five books, including "Take on Aging as a Sport." She is passionate about helping people take an empowered approach to life and aging so they can have optimal health, happiness, and success at any age. www.sharkiezartman.com Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.