Sunday, December 13, 2015

Are There Benefits to Growing Old?

I always thought today and those going forward were my life's best days. They were the ones days I could do something about. Now, being a few months shy of 70, that's challenged daily by financial and health ads telling me otherwise.

This barrage makes it feel as if aging is bad fortune, a disaster, or calamity. Is this really be true? Aren't there some benefits to aging? Thankfully research gives a few, some subtle, others dramatic. 
  • Lessening Stress and Worry
During our working and family-raising years, 18-50, worry levels stay the same. Later, our bad emotions lighten, sometimes a lot. There is also less stress. I found I liked going to work and what I did for people. 

  • Improved Social and Gambling Skills (We need these.)
I don't know if these skills come from having more experience or more practice, but Seniors take fewer risks. We also have more emotional control. It's not all about reading faces, but more like we've learned when to hold' em...fold' em ...and walk away. This calmer, mellower nature makes us better at seeing different points of view, mediating, and compromising.

  • Happiness Peaks
Sadness comes and goes throughout life, separate from what's happening. Sometimes due to chemistry. Amazingly, after middle age, our happiness improves. (That's great, considering I now have to deal with insurance, Social Security and Medicare forms, making anyone grumpy.)

  • Fewer Colds
Prior to middle age, we are blessed with a cold two or three times a year. (Thank you co-workers and kids!) After 50 that goes down. As we age our immune system is more practiced at repelling viral invaders. Naturally, a Senior's immune system may weaken in other ways, some serious. Even so, many health annoyances, from allergies to migraines, improve.

  • Better Sleep
While it's about time, this doesn't happen until the 80s. They had fewer complaints about fatigue and sleep disturbances than other age groups. Could it be because of fewer responsibilities? Maybe fewer digital devices? If that last one is true, it could change as more old-old become device connected. Better sleep at 80, especially REM sleep (deep sleep), may lead to better health than those younger and sleep deprived.

  • More Desirable Sex
With less stress, more time, and happier attitude sex improves, in many ways. From orgasm to masturbation studies provide various encouraging information. Affected by our total health, it is a complex, private, and individual matter, I won't go into. 

  • Enduring Brain Development
Apparently old dogs can learn new tricks. Our brains grow neurons (nerve cells) and reshape with new learning. The hobbies we explore add to the brain's on-going development. Our vocabulary, also, grows and we use words in more subtle ways. Perhaps part of the attraction we have for blogging or writing the ultimate novel.

  • Improved Relationships
We receive abundant happiness from interating with those we care about most. Our calmer nature and happier attitude contribute to better connections. Fewer conflicts at work and home make for a happier individual and also a happier couple. As we age we learn what is important to us and those we love. Perhaps, due to the way others see us, we're challenged less, too.

With time is running out, Seniors reduce grudges, sometimes even repair long lasting feuds. We're more willing to forgive. We have clearer priorities.

There are unfortunate disadvantages to this elderly part of life, but there were with other steps along the way. And some are blessed more than others. I try to aim my sights on life's benefits, for as long as possible. I won't listen to the bothersome negative barrage. 

How will you take charge of the days to come? What benefits have you noticed to this aging thing?


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For more specific information on aging benefits check out these links.