Wednesday, September 6, 2023


 Last month’s birthday was both similar to and different from the one I wrote about in this post from eight years ago. Yes, I spent it with family, but no, the changing number didn’t hit me in quite the same way.

As for the benefits of age? I may worry more about forgetting these days but, otherwise, they remain the same.

I celebrated my birthday last week. It was a good day, spent with family and friends, and thanks to Facebook, I got birthday wishes from an amazing number of friends online as well. It was a good day.

But I still felt old.

Some birthdays are like that. On my 25th birthday, a friend insisted on referring to me as a quarter of a century old. That was enough to turn a beautiful evening on the pond into a depressing one, no matter how young I was in reality.

Some birthdays have that effect on us. We expect it on the milestone birthdays -- those change of decade celebrations that remind us what we're leaving behind as much as what lies ahead -- but other times it catches us off-guard.

Still, it's not all bad, and often, a attitude adjustment is all that's needed. So, without further ado, I bring you five benefits to getting older:
  1. You've figured out what's really important -- and you act accordingly. Kids grow up, parents grow old, and suddenly, you realize you're the grown-up. Sobering...but liberating.
  2. You learn not to sweat the small stuff. Sure, we still worry, but we've also learned that some things take care of themselves. And worrying won't change the rest of it.
  3. You forget stuff. On the surface, that doesn't look like such a great thing, but over the course of a lifetime, some things are better off forgotten. Grudges and painful memories just suck the joy out of this life now.
  4. You know who you are. No more waffling. The lemming years are behind us. Sure, we can still change...if we want to...but we can also accept ourselves, flaws and all and let others take different paths.
  5. You've learned that realistic goals are the best kind because those are the ones we reach. Aiming high and dreaming are still part of the territory -- and they should be. They help us see beyond the grey days and into the future, and they spark the next set of goals.
I'm better at remembering these gifts of maturity (and at being mature) some days more than others. I've learned, though, that if I keep #1 in my sights, the rest fall into place.

What gifts of maturity have you learned to appreciate?

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