14 Reasons to Celebrate Getting Older
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m self-conscious about aging. Not so much the number (which is climbing to a hearty 37 years old this year) but rather that I can physically see the youth exiting my body as life experience replaces it. Getting older is a hard pill to swallow, but like everyone else, I have to do it, so why not look at the bright side, right? Thus, here are 14 reasons why blowing out one more birthday candle isn’t such a bad thing.
1. You’re more comfortable with yourself
Once you get over the hurdle of transitioning from a 20-something-looking 30-something into a full-fledged 40-looking 40-something, it starts to get easier. While I’m still anxious about aging, I’m not as worried about it as I used to be — like when I had five 25th birthdays because turning 30 was just too terrifying. Now I accept the process, plan a great birthday with someone I love, and have fun.
Superficiality aside, there are lots of other things that I’m more comfortable with now versus 10 years ago, like my personal and professional accomplishments, the relationships I have, my own autonomy, and having enough money to splurge on travel and nice dinners instead of bulk-buying ramen and cheap booze.
If you’ve done what you can to set yourself up for a comfortable retirement, you can enter your golden years with excitement. Even if your finances aren’t quite there yet, you can still make it work. You may not be able to travel the world like you planned, but things change and you’ll find a way to make the most of what you’ve got. (See also: 7 Easiest Ways to Catch Up on Retirement Savings Later in Life)
Full retirement might not be what you want anyway, so part-time retirement may be more your speed. Basically, you’d have the freedom you’ve envisioned, but you’d fill some of that free time making money doing something you enjoy, like working part-time at a shop in town, driving for Lyft or Uber, or making crafts that you can sell on Etsy.
3. Discounts galore
Senior discounts are awesome, but before you even become an official senior, you’ll start getting discounts on things like car insurance, which provides savings based on age and good driving records over time.
4. Your priorities change
What matters most changes as you get older and experience life’s milestones, like getting married and having children. Neither of those things are in the cards for me — I did the former once, and that’s enough — but my own priorities have changed based on what I would like for my future and how I plan to spend my money, like my mortgage, which is more important than the frivolous stuff on which I used to waste money.
5. Sex is better
Maybe it’s because it takes more time in general to do the deed as you get older, but I’ve found sex to be much more passionate and meaningful in my 30s than it was in my 20s, and that’s whether I’m in a relationship or not.
You also become more confident, and less tolerable of selfish partners, so as your standards go up, the sex you have just improves over time.
6. You learn to let the little things go
What mattered when I was younger — every. little. thing. — just doesn’t anymore. I don’t have the kind of time I did back then to worry about the trivial inconveniences. I brush it off and move on.
7. True friends reveal themselves
We go through a lot throughout our lives, and those crises will make or break friendships and other relationships. I used to think quantity mattered when it came to friends, but in the end, it’s the quality of people with whom you surround yourself that will enrich your life.
At this stage, I’d rather have one committed person on the couch with me on a Friday night than pretend to enjoy the company of 20 acquaintances at a club, none of whom would be willing to give me a ride home if I needed it. (See also: 5 Friend Types That Can Hurt Your Finances)
8. Seeking the approval of others is a thing of the past
Do I care what people think about me? Yes. I would be lying if I said I didn’t. But as I’ve gotten older, I care less about how they view me on the surface — how I dress, the way I look, the kind of car I drive — versus how they view my character. I’ve also accepted that I can’t please everybody, so there’s no point in trying.
Just do you and everything else will fall into place.
9. You don’t have to do things you don’t want to
I don’t attend holidays or weddings or family vacations that I don’t want to anymore. Life is too short to spend so much time (and money) being uncomfortable. Does this hurt other people’s feelings? Perhaps. But there’s a reason I’m saying no to these events. It’s because it makes me feel uncomfortable, and I come first in terms of comfort.
10. You make more money (hopefully)
The older you get, the more experience you gain, and hopefully your paycheck continues to reflect that. Plus, you get to spend money on a home, children, and other things you always pictured spending money on as a typical “grown-up.” (See also: How to Use Glassdoor to Earn More Money)
11. Food is better at parties
We barely ate at parties in my 20s, and if I did, it was bags of chips. But now, in my 30s, I attend parties with plates of hors d’oeuvres that hosts spend hours making. I’ll take delicate crab puffs over stale chips any day.
12. You stress less about your physical appearance
I still worry about my physical appearance, and I’m in the gym trying to ward off pounds on a regular basis. But I’ve eased up on myself over the years, and now focus more on the health benefits of consistent sweat sessions, rather than having six- or eight-pack abs. (See also: 10 Ways to Age Well for $0)
13. You have a lifetime worth of memories and mementos
I have so many fond memories at age 36 and I feel like my life is just getting started. I’m looking forward to looking back on the memories 20 years from now. I hope I make myself proud.
14. Age truly is just a number
Once you reach a certain age, what is age anymore? Does 50 feel differently than 60? I’m not quite there yet, but I feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally now than I did when I turned 30, which makes me not as afraid to reach the next milestone birthday.