I was raised in the 1960s during a time of great civil unrest. We were taught to not trust anyone over 30.
That works great when you are 19, 20, 21 … but when you approach 31, 40, 50 …. You need a new belief system!
Growing older is a party to be enjoyed. Here’s why:
- You are freer to speak your mind.
When I express an opinion, I am given a modicum of respect because I am an older woman. I’m not so old as to be considered “doddering” but I do have opinions that are sometimes listened to.
Then there is the experience factor. I have lived through enough difficulties in life that when someone asks advice about their child who is swinging from the ceiling, they are more likely to listen to me because I have been through ADD, LD, ADHD and ee ii ee ii oo with my own children.
Finally, idiosyncrasies are tolerated because my family says, Oh, that’s just how mom is.”
This is freedom!
- You are freer to follow your passions
As a young law school graduate, there were societal expectations. In my circle, the path to take was to be a prosecutor for several years, then private practice to make lots of money, then be appointed a judge until you earned a cushy retirement. I made a good start on that path, then decided to take a mommy sabbatical for 15 years. Upon my return to practicing, I have had the freedom to make it look any way I want it to look, working on my own terms in a way that makes sense in my very complicated life.
With older kids, I am freer to pick up some other interests. I have made a couple of quilts and I’m enjoying some art activities. I never had the time of the undisturbed space to do this before.
I am freer to give my time to causes I believe in. When I volunteered while the kids were little, there was a constant tension between the desire to volunteer and the guilt over taking time from the children. Now, the kids are busy, I’m busy and we’re all happy.
- You are freer to forgive.
As I get older I realize I don’t have time to hold grudges. If I have many years left or only a few, I won’t waste those years holding grudges that were silly in their inception.
I also don’t have time to nurse grievances. I would rather spend my energy accepting and loving other people.
Finally, I can forgive myself for all the stupid things I did in my youth, and there were many. I can look back in love at that young person and thank God for the growth he allowed me to stumble through.
Don’t dread getting older. Go there gracefully. There is tremendous freedom ahead to be enjoyed. The way I see it, from here on it’s all a party – and I’ve never been one to miss a good party.
Won’t you come along?