Have you ever seen the movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? The lead character, played by Brad Pitt, gets physically younger while the rest of the world ages. Eventually, it does not turn out well for him. He dies as an infant but with old age dementia.
In real life, there are actually some advantages to getting physically older, which is good since we don't have much choice. Here are five that came to mind:
1). We don't care nearly as much about how we look in a bathing suit (or birthday suit). When we were younger, the effort expended to drop some weight before summer began was a common occurrence. Time spent jogging or at the gym become a fixed part of our schedule. Looking younger than our years was important. Face creams and lotions are a multi-billion dollar business.
While the health aspects of staying in shape remain important until we shuffle off our mortal coils, the reason changes. We are more concerned with our interior health than our exterior appearance.
2. We have stopped trying to keep up with the Joneses. By now, we have learned that the consumer merry-go-round is a circle, meaning there is no end, no finish line. No matter how much we buy, collect, obtain, or control, someone else will have more, and most of it does not make us happy, just tired.
As we age, our priorities change. We surround ourselves with what makes us happy, not what makes us maintain a certain look.
3. We no longer worry as much about how the kids will turn out. By now, that part of our job is done. Unless you have taken on the admirable job of raising grandchildren, your own kids have learned what they need from you. Now, it is up to them to figure it out. Should you provide help and counsel if one of them gets in trouble? Sure. But, the heavy lifting of raising another human being is over.
As a parent I know my daughters will be in my mind everyday until I die. But, my worries are different then they were when they were much younger.
4. We no longer worry about how our careers will turn out That ship has sailed. Whatever choices we made to support ourselves and a family are past history. Office intrigue and in-fighting, a constant battle for more and more business, hours wasted in a daily commute, the effects of technological change on your chosen profession, even the power and prestige that came with your success - are over. As we move through the journey of retirement, we have new things to focus on.
Growing older is not often easy, but some of the struggles that occupied us in the past, are gone. And, frankly, the alternative to growing older is not one I'd choose. Bring it on!