Warmest regards: Does life get easier with age?
By Patty Mihalik
While leafing through a magazine’s fitness section, I saw a headline that stopped me in my tracks.
It said, “Five reasons life gets easier with age.”
My first reaction was, no way. Life gets harder as we age, not easier.
In fact, the more candles we have on our birthday cake, the harder life gets. Even those who are physically fit and stay active complain they can no longer do many of the physical things they used to do so easily.
My husband and I are definitely active. But we often lament our bodies aren’t as strong as our will.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I could play tennis in the morning, work out in the swimming pool in the afternoon and go to Zumba class at night. We also danced three times a week and biked three or four days a week.
Now, we do all of those physical things on a greatly reduced basis. If we are going dancing at night, I’m careful not to sap my energy by biking in the hot sun.
I have to admit David will often still do both, even though he’s seven years older than I am. I think it’s because he’s more disciplined and more determined.
Even though he goes for a vigorous bike rides in the blistery sun almost every day, he does complain that he doesn’t have the energy he used to have.
“It wasn’t that long ago that I could ride for hours then come home and cut the grass. Now, it’s hard to do both,” he says.
As for me, the only exercise I want to do in the heat of the day is to swim in the pool.
When I get together with friends I haven’t seen for a while, the first thing we ask is, “How have you been?” We all tend to answer honestly.
And the honest answer for all of us is that we all have physical challenges we never had before. I’m struggling with a torn meniscus, doing physical therapy in an effort to avoid the surgery the doctor said I need.
Another friend just had a hip replacement while yet another is recovering from heart surgery. Another friend showed us her bandaged ankle and said she just had an ankle replacement.
I will say this: We are all lucky we are living in the age of replacement parts. We can get a new knee, a new hip, new ankle and replacement parts for a heart that’s failing.
Years ago I made a vow I would never turn into one of those people who go on and on about physical problems. It’s nonproductive as well as totally boring for others.
Now, I don’t hide a physical problem but I limit my talk about it to two or three sentences. My friends seem to do the same.
Ginger lost almost all of her vision to macular degeneration, but when we ask how she is feeling she always says, “wonderful.” She doesn’t want to bore people, either.
All that came to mind when I saw the headline “Five reasons life gets easier with age.”
This is my conclusion: As we age, physically life gets harder. But emotionally, it gets easier.
It’s hard to find an older person who thrives on drama. I’m sure you know some who swing from one drama to another. When there isn’t one, they seem to create it.
When we get to a certain age we mellow out. We want as much tranquility as possible and can do without drama, thank you very much.
As we age we also learn what is important and want isn’t. We no longer sweat the small stuff. And many of us are at the point where it’s all small stuff.
We don’t take offense as easily and we seem to cut others more slack.
I know that I now laugh at things that would once have made me upset. When we get to a certain age we realize the truth behind the saying, “Life is short.”
It’s too short to spend being angry. If I spend a day angry, I think it’s a wasted day of my life. I can be upset over something for an hour or so. Then I tell myself, no. I’m not letting them inside my head. I go for a walk or enjoy a bit of nature until equilibrium returns.
The article that drew my attention with the headline, “Five reasons life gets easier with age,” claims the main reason is because we have more emotional resilience as we age.
It claimed the more we’ve persevered through tough times, the more resilience we become.
The second reason it listed is that word skills and ability to read other people’s emotional state improves with age.
More good news about aging, it claimed, is migraines lessen with age. Gee, can’t they come up with anything better?
I’m not sure about the claim that older people aren’t as tired as younger ones because we can do what we want with every day.
The main thing on the list I agree with is that our self-confidence improves with each decade.
So does our compassion. We stop thinking we are the center of the world and we reach out more to do good for others.
What do you think? What gets easier as we age?
Contact Pattie Mihalik at email@example.com.