Isn’t it time to finally evolve past the romanticization of youth and embrace the gift that age is? Sure, biologically, the degradation of the body with years accrued is a negative thing. But we all know our fear of age has way more to it than the worry of memory loss or bad knees. Aging however, is nothing but a privilege. Not only because the alternative is literally the annihilation of self, but because getting older is becoming a better version of yourself.
I think there is a switch, at least there has been for me. For the entirety of my life, I considered myself the child in every situation. But recently, I have come to realize that I am a grown person in my own eyes. So now that I am cognizant of my own aging process, I look back at all the versions of me that have come and gone out of fruition in the last two decades and I can say one thing for certain. I am subjectively and objectively, a better being. Naturally, I am better skilled, read, and traveled. But I am also more compassionate, resilient, and open-minded. I am at a point in my life where I surely am excited for the future, but I am appreciative for the years I have had. Here are a few of the reasons why!
Peace. The stability that comes with age is often portrayed as negative in literature and media. We often associate settling into a life as settling for less. But, no! That is so not the case. Being content with all that has been achieved, looking around a living space and not wanting to add more, being able to visualize the next few years cultivating what is already existent instead of running after the next high, is the embodiment of peace. Then coming from a different angle, with age we also tend to care less about what others think. Nonchalance to external views comes almost naturally as we become responsible for and immersed in our own lives. This point does not need much elaboration, we all know the freedom and peace of mind that can be achieved when fear of judgement is not one of our concerns.
Resilience. The correlation between getting older and becoming more resilient is quite uncomplicated. Even without actively pursuing it (although that certainly helps), age instills within us cognition of the cyclic nature of life. If we fall, we will rise. Time does pass, and it does heal. Getting older is the ultimate superpower for this reason; age reveals the age-old secret that nothing is the end of the world, that we can and will wake up tomorrow and try again, and tomorrow we will be stronger. On a personal level, genuinely, ninety-nine percent of the things that once scared me in my teens, do not do so anymore. Not because I have become resistant to a raise in heartbeat. Absolutely not. But because the years have taught me that yes, the worst-imagined could indeed occur, and sometimes it does. But then it passes, and I grow, and life becomes only sweeter.
Wisdom. It seems rather precocious for anyone in their early twenties to discuss the wisdom of age but hear me out. Yes, of course with more age there usually are more things learnt, but the journey from adolescence to adulthood does provide adequate lessons for most of us! Even without pursuing degrees or any kind of training that is meant to ‘teach’, just becoming older gets the job done. Whether they be through interpersonal relationships, through trial-and-errors pertaining to career, through understanding our own physiologies, to list a few avenues. I know I am exponentially more knowledgeable than I was five years ago (well DUH!) and it is not related to my degrees. I know more because I have been an active observer of my own thought processes, I have learned how certain behaviours elicit certain responses from others, cooking regularly has taught me more chemistry than I would like to admit!
More years=more life. It is a strangely satisfying feeling to look back on a life and realize how much life you have lived, how much you have evolved to become who you are today. As cliché as it is, in the end, life becomes the culmination of the places we have been, the people we got to know along the way, and the way we built and rebuilt ourselves. In the grand scheme of life, we become our ultimate works of art, and it is the years we accrue that become vivacious colours and patterns in this masterpiece that is each and every one of our lives.
So in conclusion, my main points are to stop wasting energy fearing the first grey hair, the day we turn thirty, the first time we DON’T get IDed. It is surely easier said than done, but aging is a gift and the years only give us more life, more love, and more of our own selves to cherish! You will get old whether you like it or not, so might as well enjoy it!