There’s no time like the present.
Some people think getting older is the pits. I disagree. If you were asked, “What is the best time in your life”- how would you respond? I suspect many would say their younger years (20’s/30’s) are the times they look back on with fond memories– a time associated with freedom and fewer responsibilities. No one says they can hardly wait until they’re 80. There is a pervasive belief that getting older means heading in a direction no one wants to go. The body doesn’t do what it used to; remembering nouns can be problematic; and realization dawns that life plans have gone off the rails.
Life can be unfair. It presents challenges and sometimes blindsides us with nasty surprises that come out of the blue accompanied by rotten timing. But if you think about it, there are many terrific things about this stage in life. I subscribe to the belief that we are about as happy as we make our minds up to be. Here are ten fantastic things about midlife and beyond. There’s many more. What are yours?
- Cease fussing about what others think. This means acting, regardless of the good opinion of others. It includes doing something that appears out of character but which is important to you- anything from taking an unpopular stand to signing up for scuba diving lessons.
- Focus on what’s important; Let go of unnecessary life baggage. A lot of stuff doesn’t matter so much now (a clean house; the promotion at work; winning an argument) and other stuff matters a great deal (significant relationships; integrity; beauty; social justice, and sometimes winning an argument).
- Relish greater freedom to do what you want. Watch more Netflix; travel; eat out; join a protest march; or spend time with people you really want to be with.
- Eat more chocolate! Chocolate is a cure for just about anything.
- Enjoy adult children. Marvel at what remarkable people they are.
- Have only myself to get out the door in the morning. This is completely liberating and I have reveled in this one for a long time.
- Worry and fret less. Still working on this one- it’s a work in progress.
- Carve out time for a deepening sense of gratitude (e.g. for trees, blue sky, coffee first thing in the morning, clean cool sheets on the bed, the people in our lives, and a great book at hand).
- Longstanding relationships that are steadfast and true. Friends and life partners are an anchor in times of calm or turbulence.
- Rekindle a sense of play– having fun with no particular purpose in mind.
Some time ago, a friend asked me what the best time in my life was. Initially I said it was my 20’s. But when I thought about it, I realized that the answer was now. And I want to be able to say “now” when I am 70 and 80 and 90 and older- even if my body doesn’t do what it used to or I have trouble remembering nouns. May I be in awe of today – dancing and singing like there’s no tomorrow.