The Value of Aging
Disclaimer: In this post, I’ve ventured away from cryptids into the tedious and controversial lands of real life and how our viewpoint on aging can help alleviate regrets. This is not a political rant about ageism, but a discussion about the value of aging.
Another birthday and I trekked to the license bureau to update my driver’s license. Note to self: Don’t go at 7:55 a.m. (five minutes before they open) and think you will be first in line. Five others will beat you there by a minute and you will have to wait in line anyway. Go at 8:30 a.m. after the initial rush is over.
When I finally made my way to the counter, the worker glanced at my license and said, “You and my husband share a birthday. He’s turning 50 and is miserable over it.”
“Why is he miserable?” (I turned 51).
“He’s afraid of getting old. He finds it depressing.”
No One Wants to Get Old
Mel (the younger half of Cryptid World) sometimes expresses a fear of getting old because she doesn’t want life to change. At 23, she’s living in a sweet spot–newly married, living her dream as a character designer while writing books about cryptids, her favorite topic. Time might strip those dreams away. She’s seen it happen time and again to other people. Unfortunate events, health issues, accidents, divorce. They change the course of life.
The fact is our lives will not be the same in 10, 20, or 30 years. Night will come and then the day. We don’t have a choice, and we don’t have time to waste.
Besides a general fear of the unknown, I’m inclined to believe part of this “fear of aging” originates from a mindset that doesn’t value old age like we could. (This is not a political rant on ageism but a good example of how our perception affects our reality). When we criticize the older population or the idea of getting old, we’re basically devaluing our later selves. There’s a tendency to believe we won’t matter when we get old–that others will cast us aside as insignificant.
The Generation Gap
I’ve heard it said the older generations are the cause for the world’s problems. *Avoids a heavy eye roll.* Because today’s younger generations will be the cause of tomorrow’s problems. Nothing new. Cyclical blame. Out of one another’s mistakes, we learn and advance. Being better doesn’t happen only as a society. It has to happen in each home and in each life. A real tolerance that doesn’t hate or blame or point fingers.
Here’s the truth: Just because someone believes old age isn’t valuable, doesn’t make it true. A person who is 70+ is just as important and precious to this world as a newborn baby.
The Precious Gem
We all get knocked down a time or two, or ten. But here’s the gem. If you take the time to get to know a senior individual, you can learn how they coped with hardship, how they gathered the strength to stand up again after being knocked down. How to be happy after tragedy. How to hang onto a thread when you want to let go. Older adults hold the secret to survival.
All my life, I’ve been an observer of people, and I’ve valued the wisdom and advice that comes from those who have lived a complete life, enduring all the good, bad, and ugly. I’ve learned that you can ease the fear of aging by accepting the inevitability of change, expecting to survive and grow stronger. Surviving brings wisdom, confidence, and a diamond-hard strength not found elsewhere.
A big proponent of survival is avoiding regret. Regret has the ability to squelch opportunities to grow wise and confident. It robs our strength and ability to age gracefully. Regret shows up in the way we react to change (or loss). Surround yourself with good people who will help you avoid the disastrous choices and you’ll be one step ahead.
Still, we all do things we regret. Here’s what to do about it:
- Always tell the truth (especially to yourself) even if the consequences are horrible
- Don’t leave words left unspoken
- You can start over tomorrow. It’s never too late
If you have a grandparent or find yourself in a place to talk with an older adult, ask them about a time when they had to overcome a hardship and then listen closely. You might uncover a gemstone piece advice that either helps you cope with aging or helps you avoid a future disaster. I can promise you won’t regret your time with them.
Do you have older people in your life that you spend time with?
How do you feel about getting older?
If you’d like to learn more about how or why we weave real life issues into our writing, check out our newsletter by signing up below or you can see what the newsletter is all about by clicking here. You can also read about us on this page. Thank you for reading. Hope you have a great rest of your week.
T. S. Mart has worked as a Grief Recovery Specialist and Licensed Social Worker with the older adult population for over twenty years. She also likes to spend time with her daughter writing about cryptids *shrug*.