very old, ery ugly couple--public domain

5 Positives of Getting Old–A Fun Look at the Joys of Aging

by Kassandra Lamb

You know you are truly old when you apply for Social Security. Yup, I recently signed up for what my grandmother called her “old age pension.”

When I taught Developmental Psychology, I was amazed at how my young college students didn’t want to hear about the positives of aging. They moaned and uttered “Eww!!” loudly whenever I mentioned a negative and seemed to tune out the positives. Or sometimes, to my astonishment, they groaned at the positives!

So here are some of those positives (a bit tongue-in-cheek), for the folks over forty, who haven’t clicked over to another blog by now:

1. Retirement: You get paid for not working. How cool is that!

couple on beach

photo by Hector Alejandro CC BY 2.0 Wikimedia Commons

And you pretty much get to do whatever you want. The best description of retirement came from a friend of ours. He said, “Every day is Saturday. It’s not that you don’t have things to do, but if you don’t feel like doing them today, there’s always tomorrow.”

Don’t feel like doing the laundry or grocery shopping? Unless you’re totally out of food or clean undies, you don’t have to do that today! (Or just turn your undies inside out; see #5)

2. Looking Good “For Your Age”: To a large extent, the pressure is off to look great. As long as you look better than most people your age, you’re doing fine.

very old, ery ugly couple--public domain

You look better than these two?  You are good to go!

And the older you get, the easier this is. Cuz there are more and more people who look worse than you do!

So, you want to lose a little weight? Don’t even aim for what you weighed in your younger years. Once you’re skinnier than most of your friends, you can go back to eating dessert.

3. Oily Skin Finally Pays Off: Look, Ma, no wrinkles! Now if I could just get rid of that crepey skin on my neck.

Of course this is only a positive if you have oily skin, but hey, I had to put up with really bad acne as a kid, so I deserve some bennies now from all that oil.

If you don’t have oily skin, my condolences (while I secretly gloat because I probably look better than you. 😉 )

4. Getting Out of Stuff You Don’t Want to Do: Those bad knees, poor eyesight, lousy sense of balance can have a great pay-off. You can get your grown kids to do all sorts of stuff for you. Or if you have the resources, pay somebody to clean the gutters and do other chores you once did yourself. And without guilt! After all, you’re old. You can’t *cough* won’t *cough* do those things anymore.

In other words you have the perfect excuse to pick and choose where you exert yourself and where you don’t. Indeed, research has found that doing this tends to make for healthier aging, both physically and mentally. The fancy term for it is Selective Optimization with Compensation. You select what is important to you and focus your energy and physical/mental strength on those things. Then you compensate in other areas with other resources.

Years ago, I called my mother to chat. She said, “I can’t talk long. Don (my stepfather) and I are going to the gym soon.” We chit-chatted for a few minutes, then she said, “Hold on. My cleaning lady is finished. I need to write her a check.” I cracked up at the irony of it. She was paying someone to clean for her, so she could go to the gym and work out!

very old couple in tie-dye hippie clothes

Hmm… (photo by Idran CC BY 3.0 Wikimedia Commons)

But she was right to do that. She was saving her energy for what was important to her.

5. Not Caring What Other People Think: Of course, it is better, mental-health wise, to achieve this mindset earlier in life. But even if you haven’t let others dictate your feelings about yourself for years, there’s a whole ’nother layer to this when you’re old.

I’m not sure I can find words to explain it. You truly Do. Not. Give. A. Sh*t. It’s not that you’re arrogant, but you let go of any residual worrying about others’ opinions.

You’ve learned that life is too short to let other people live it for you!

How do you feel about aging? Do you think these positives outweigh the negatives?

(P.S. Stop back this Thursday, Sept. 4th–my birthday–for a 2nd post this week; a World Sexual Health Day contest post looking at how sexuality and out-of-wedlock pregnancy were handled in the bad old days.)

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

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  • Reply
    Nancy Levine
    September 2, 2014 at 11:13 am

    “What a drag it is getting old…”

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      September 2, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Can’t stop it, Nancy, so might as well look for the positives (I must confess I had a little trouble coming up with five of them 😀 ).

      • Reply
        Nancy Levine
        September 3, 2014 at 11:17 am

        I know–I have to agree with the quote about growing up not being mandatory–thank God for that. I guess getting old is part of the conspiracy, too, or at least that’s what my friend would say. LOL.

        • Reply
          Kassandra Lamb
          September 3, 2014 at 12:35 pm

          I absolutely refuse to grow up! I’m having way too much fun. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    On the serious side, getting old is not an opportunity given to everyone
    On the other side, I started running my dogs in Agility (VERY active) at 63. As far as I’m concerned middle age is fifteen years older than I am

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      September 2, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      LOL I like that definition of middle age, Mona! How cool that you have gotten into Agility with your dogs. I try to do Zumba four times a week. I feel so much better when I’m active.

      • Reply
        September 2, 2014 at 2:18 pm

        I need to do something like Zumba if I can find it out here where I live. I need something to counteract BICHOK

        • Reply
          Kassandra Lamb
          September 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm

          Okay, I’ll bite. What’s BICHOK?

          I used to go to Zumba classes, but now I use the video DVD at home. More convenient.

          • MonaKarel
            September 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm

            Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard

  • Reply
    Kassandra Lamb
    September 2, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Ah yes, I know it well, Mona, but by a slightly different name, Writer’s Butt!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and chatting today!

  • Reply
    Jennette Marie Powell
    September 2, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Haha, this was great! Unfortunately, I am a long way from retirement, but doing pretty well at #5 – which IMO is the most important one of the bunch!

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      September 2, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      I would agree, Jennette. #5 is the most important one. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Reply
    K.B. Owen
    September 2, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Great list, Kass! Getting older really does put things in perspective, doesn’t it? The things I used to agonize about in my 20s don’t even faze me now. 😉 On the other hand, it’s not universal: my mom is in her mid-seventies, and she still stresses about what shoes match what purse. I stopped caring about that a long time ago. Ah, well, I guess it’s good for some folks to have a hobby…

    Some of my fave old-age adages: “Better gray than shiny”; “Better old than 6 feet under”; “Old age ain’t for sissies”; “Age is a question of mind over matter – if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”; “Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional”; and “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”

    Fab topic!

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      September 3, 2014 at 1:07 am

      LOL I think your mom and I would get along swimmingly. I like to have my shoes and purse coordinated, too. But I do it for me now, not because I care one twit what others think!

      And my all-time fave line is: Growing old is mandatory; growing up is not! 🙂

  • Reply
    Karen McFarland
    September 2, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Ack! Don’t talk to me about getting old Kassandra! I don’t want to go there. But I have no choice. Who does? I love your list. Yes, there are certain benefits to getting older. lol. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kassandra Lamb
    September 3, 2014 at 1:08 am

    Exactly, Karen. We have no choice, so we might as well look for the silver lining!

    • Reply
      K.B. Owen
      September 3, 2014 at 7:10 am

      “Silver” lining? Oh, you are punny today! 😉

      • Reply
        Kassandra Lamb
        September 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm

        LOL Actually the pun was unintentional, but it’s not a bad one, huh? 🙂

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