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Aging & Society

9 Reasons to Be Grateful About Getting Older

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Have you heard the acronym FOMO?

It stands for Fear of Missing Out, and a popular hashtag. Personally, I’m not sure I ever experienced FOMO, even in my younger years, but I know now, with age, I feel entirely justified in my lack of FOMO (LOFOMO?). I have a pretty good grasp on what’s worthy of leaving my comfortable couch for, and I have no problem declining invitations. For that, I’m grateful.

In fact, there are so many things I’m grateful for when it comes to aging. I’m grateful that I’m more confident, that I’m in a good place when it comes to career, that I love my husband and our life together, that I made it to the most recent milestone birthday, that I’m healthy and, if not entirely wise, at least more so than I once was.

In fact, I’m grateful that I’m more grateful as I age. And I’m not alone. I did an informal poll of others who are, like me, still learning as their years tick up. I asked what they’ve come to appreciate with time. Here’s what I found.

  • We’re unapologetic about spending less time doing things we don’t like doing. That book we picked up but just can’t get into? We’re abandoning it and picking up one we like better. No guilt.
  • We’re saying goodbye to drama. In our youth, we may have been drawn to the dramatic, but today, who has time for it? We’re working hard enough to focus on our priorities—which have become clearer with age—and don’t need more of the he-said-she-said distractions. We want friendships that drive us, not drain us.
  • We’re grateful that we can, if we choose to, eat ice cream for dinner. But we’re wise enough to know not to do it (often).
  • We’re less bound by cultural and fashion constraints. Stiletto heels? No thank you. At this stage, we’re perfectly happy to put favor comfort first—and we feel great for doing it.
  • We know when and how to cut corners. Time is limited, and we’re learning how to make the most of it and delegate when we can.
  • We’ve working to be our own advocates. This applies to the doctor’s office, the workplace, at our grandchildren’s school, on the streets outside. We know how important it is to stand up for ourselves at the right place and the right time, and we’re not afraid of looking “uncool” while doing it.
  • We empathize more. It takes time and experience and loss and introspection and patience to understand that we all have different experiences and we’re all trying to do the best we can with what we have.
  • We’ve learned to appreciate our bodies for what they can do. We’ve carried and delivered children, climbed mountains, weathered heartache, recovered from sickness, and we’re stronger because of it.
  • We’re learning every day to be more accepting and forgiving—not just of others, but of ourselves.

What are some things you’ve learned that you’re grateful for?

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