The benefits of aging
March 30, 2015
by Ivan Raconteur

There must be hundreds of benefits to getting older, but for the life of me, I can’t think of any of them.

I’m joking of course.

The subject of aging came up recently when a colleague and I were commiserating about some of the negative consequences of getting older.

There are, however, benefits as well.

Personal space is one of them. I’ve noticed even at a crowded pub I am rarely suffocated by hordes of ladies craving my attention these days. When one gets older, people tend to keep a respectful distance.

Speaking of ladies, another benefit to a sprinkling of white hair is that strangers are more comfortable around me.

I’m not sure if it’s because they assume I have reached the stage at which I no longer pose a threat, or because they are confident they could outrun me in the unlikely event I should give chase.

In any event, getting older makes one less threatening to strangers.

When I was young, I sometimes encountered ladies who were aggressively competitive.

Whether it was sports or some other activity, they were determined to turn it into a competition.

That is no longer the case.

Today when I encounter young ladies, they are more likely to hold a door for me or offer to help than to challenge me.

It hasn’t quite got to the point where they are offering to assist me in crossing busy streets, but it is definitely much less competitive than when I was younger.

I’m less likely to get into any serious trouble now than when I was younger, too.

I’d like to say this is because I am wiser now.

The real reason, of course, is that even though I still have a penchant for mischief, I lack the essential energy I once had. In other words, I still have the capacity to devise schemes, but I don’t often have the energy to execute them.

Also, late at night (or early in the morning) when trouble often occurs, I’m much more likely to be reading a book or sawing logs than prowling the streets getting into scrapes.

Another thing I have noticed is that it is easy for me to learn new things every day.

I regret that some of these are things that I had learned previously and forgotten, but we can’t have everything.

I seem to do OK with the big things, but the small things can trip me up. I’ve never been very good at remembering names, and I am less good at it now. Fortunately, I’m also less worried about offending people when I forget their names. As long as one of us remembers, everything will be fine.

I have reasonable success remembering facts, but I sometimes forget why I walked into a room. “Destinasia,” they call that. This used to bother me, but over time I have learned to wait patiently for inspiration or retrace my steps. I figure if the reason for being there was important, I’ll eventually remember what it was.

Life tends to be less stressful as we get older.

When we’re young, it seems like we are always having to prove something.

We’re busy climbing ladders and building our lives, not to mention figuring out who we are.

As we get older, we know who we are, and we’re comfortable with that. We accept ourselves and others, which allows us to relax and enjoy life more.

There’s generally much less drama in our lives when we get older.

Young people are earnest all the time. They treat the simplest situations as life and death emergencies.

Older people don’t get sucked into that kind of thing.

We become experts at what young people describe as “chillaxing.”

Most of us, with each passing year, care less about what others think, and spend more time and energy on things we find important.

We get better at prioritizing as we age.

When we’re young, we might try to solve all of the world’s problems, and that is a lot to ask of ourselves. As we get older, we learn to focus our efforts, which allows us to concentrate on making our little corner of the world better.

It is more difficult to think of physical advantages of getting older.

I suppose it’s a perk that other people’s expectations for us go down as we age, in correlation to our declining abilities.

There comes a point when no one realistically expects us to run anywhere, ever.

Even though we can still lift heavy objects and carry things, people are less likely to ask us to actually do so as time goes on.

These days, if someone asks me to help them move, they probably want me to take care of the beer, rather than heft a bunch of heavy furniture.

I won’t go so far as to say getting older is fun, or that there are a lot of perks, but it is probably better than the alternative.

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