There is a line in The Beatles’ song, “When I’m 64″ that says, “You’ll be older too…” and just like the composer of that song, Sir Paul McCartney, you’ll be old, I’ll be old, and we’ll all be old (if we live long enough) someday. And, just like Paul McCartney, who wrote this famous song in 1967, when he was a mere 25 years old, we may rarely think about what it will be like when we are 64, or like Paul, in our 70s, or older. Time passes and we have two, and only two outcomes concerning the passage of time: we either grow older or we die. There are, as of this writing, no time machines that can de-age us. And, despite the feeling many people have that they are the same person in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond as they were in their younger days, this feeling does not comport with reality. Our life experiences continuously change us, to the point we evolve as individuals even when we do not have conscious awareness of it. Some of us change markedly throughout our lives, while others of us change in more subtle ways, but change nonetheless. A growing body of psychological research on senior citizens’ decision making reveals that, unlike what many people believe, older people’s greater life experiences often gives them an advantage over younger people on certain judgmental tasks. In other words, while older people may take additional time to reach a decision than their younger counterparts, the decisions they reach are often better (meaning more well reasoned) and more meaningful. In today’s world, people are living longer and enjoying high quality lives for longer than ever before. Growing chronologically older is something we will all do, with any luck at all. Get ready-it will happen to you.
Melissa says, “Get ready – it (growing older) will happen to you.” Well, maybe it already has, those birthdays seem to come faster as the numbers get larger. But, while the years add up, and there is perhaps a desire sometimes to turn the clock back, the reality is one must just enjoy the ride through the years. And, experiences one has at 50 are different than those at 25, perhaps they are deeper and more fulfilling because of the increased experience or knowledge one has as we age. I know traveling extensively as I did in my mid 20s was enjoyable, and eye opening. But, returning to some of the same places, as I have over the years, I’ve enjoyed the places more – and not just because I have graduated from youth hostels to nice hotels. And, while there are plenty of real concerns, or fears, of growing older, like health issues, the need to face these concerns head on seems better understood today than ever. The realities may seem harsh, but being realistic about what one can and can’t do is important to enjoying every day. I’m not going to jump out of an airplane just because I’m 90 like a certain former U.S. president did – I never wanted to do that when I was 20. But continuing to learn, explore, and wonder makes the age number less relevant. So enjoy each day while you can!