At just about any age, we make up our minds just how happy we want to be. There are the days of childhood, where we whine that we just want to be all grown up, so we can do what we want. When we're in college, we want to graduate so we can work and have money already. When we're working, we dream about the day we can finally retire.
If we sit down and ponder just what it is we like about the very stage of life we're in, it's not very hard to find some jewel moments.
I say, let's forget the commercials telling us we have to fight getting older. We can like our lives as they are right now. To that end, I decided to sit down and list the things I like about getting older. With notebook in hand and my pen clicked and ready, the ideas began to flow. Even after writer's cramp set in from furiously scribbling for 15 minutes, I couldn't stop. I wrote until my thoughts were exhausted.
The following are my top ten things to really like about getting older. If you want to know the other 90 or so, gimme a call and we can talk.
1. I've become less emotional and more thoughtful with my decisions. There's good reason for this. Our bodies make less adrenaline, testosterone and estrogen as we age and all of this newfound level headedness feels soooo good. I do not miss the drama-queen, gnashing-teeth, decision-making days of my 20s and 30s. Or 40s. Stupid hormones!
2. I no longer sweat the small stuff. I've been around the block not just once, not just twice, but maybe three and a half times. I know by now that a lot of what I worry about just never rears its ugly head. That alone has reduced my anxiety immeasurably. I've become the "What? Me Worry?" hippie chick of the '60s. Minus all of the pot smoking.
3. I can go shopping for what I need in my favorite store: my basement. I've spent a lifetime accumulating this and that, and for whatever occasion that calls for a particular gift, chances are, I have something to throw at it, downstairs. Much of it is "vintage," which is a fancy word for "stuff laying in your basement for more than 20 years."
4. I've become kinder to myself. This may be my favorite thing of all. I've become far less judge-y, more loving, respectful and in awe of all I've endured and triumphed over. Yes, this is definitely my favorite thing. I think I'm going to give myself a very big hug now. Mmmmm, that feels so good.
5. Liking myself. I've spent a lot of time developing a personality and I like it. To my absolute surprise and delight, I like me. (Also see #4 above.)
6. I no longer drool over — or covet — fashion must-haves. I've seen style trends come and go, and I know by now that this year's peplum work suit is next year's closet embarrassment. Now I shop for the classics, spend less money, have fewer things in my closet and yet, miraculously, have more to wear than I've ever had before.
7. I have so many good stories to tell. I'll never again have to worry that I won't have anything to say at a party where I don't know anyone. I have so many stories stuck in my back pockets, my front pockets, my shirt pocket, up my sleeves ... I've never been more interesting than I am today. And I don't mean that in any type of an arrogant way. It's just that I have lived.
8. All my years of living make me sound smart. All of those days of learning, making mistakes and getting back up again and learning some more make me sound like Madame freaking Curie. We all know that it's just the formula of life, but it's impossible to have that knowledge until you've been through the meat grinder once or twice or a million times.
9. I no longer need to keep up with the Joneses. At this late date, all of my cards are on the table and the risk of being threatened by what someone has or who they are disappeared years ago. I'm OK with what I can and can't do, what I have or don't have. There's no need for me to preen about my accomplishments or possessions.
10. It's safe (and fun) to flirt. I'm in the middle ground of being the mother of teens and old enough to where I can safely tell someone they look great and not have them worry that I'll go full-blown, crazy girl-crush on them. A simple "thank you" is the proper response to a compliment by a woman my age. Like I said, I could go on and maybe I will. I'm planning to pitch a Part II to my editor.* After all, all I have to do is tell him he has a nice voice and that his profile picture looks especially rugged today.
* Editor's note: "Thank you."