Why growing old is cool

We listen to songs telling us “what a drag it is getting old”. Models in magazines and on TV who everyone wants to be like are an average age of about 18 – amazing how those anti-aging creams work so marvelously for them! We exercise and diet, we avoid too much sun, we take out vitamins, and we wear “the right clothes”. We do everything we are supposed to in an attempt to stay young. Why? What is it that causes us to focus so intensely on “young”? Honestly, if it were not for the constant media blitz that tells us how we should look and dictates what we should want to be happy, things would be different.

There is a time for youth and it is a wonderful time indeed. But there is also a time to move beyond youth and on to the rest of life and all it has to offer. Attempting to live in the past is destined to fail. Pretending to be other than we are ultimately fools no one. And you know what? Growing older is a wonderful thing. Sure we could do without the aches and pains and memory challenges, but beyond that we get to spend time with a self that has matured with age, learned from mistakes, figured out what is most fun to do, and accepted that nothing is perfect in life. What a cool person to hang out with!

Old is the new young

Starting now and for the next 19 years, 10,000 people each day will reach the age of 65 an age that typically delineates a move into the state of oldness. By 2030, for the first time in history, our population will be made up of more people over 65 than those under 17. This world it is a changing! Longevity is at an all time high and the longer lives we live are healthier due to medical advances and attention to living better.

Senior citizens are going to be around for a long time! We already see the shift beginning in products and services as companies cater to the needs of the elderly. Cell phones with bigger buttons that basically function as phones not computers, investments specific to senior needs, communities dedicated to senior living, and “senior discounts” across the board. Look out youngsters, here we come!

Youth has no age ~ Pablo Picasso

It’s hip to be old

Aging is moving out of the back rooms. With 75 million baby boomers fueling the surge, the ubiquitous presence of wrinkles cannot be avoided.  We may not be the majority, but we are a force to be recognized! It is time to embrace our aging.

  • Having reached “older age”, we better understand what is important in life. Those confusing early years as we tried to figure out what it is all about are behind us. And we survived so let’s have some fun! We don’t want to waste time. As long as we continue to learn from our life experiences, we are better people.
  • We can be the real person we are – no longer concerned with moving up through the working ranks, we can speak our mind and do what we think is best. We don’t have to try to impress anyone. We can let our true colors show. What a relief! Some of our lives have us acting in roles deserving of an academy award. “I want to learn how to break dance”; “I have always wanted to sing in the choir”; “what is this bunjee jumping all about?” Time to find out.

I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly find – at the age of fifty, say – that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about…It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you. ~ Agatha Christie

  • We actually have the time to do what we WANT to do! There is no better feeling than waking up and knowing that you do not have to do anything that you do not want to do (with the exception of basic doctor, dentist, etc. appointments that litter the calendar). The day ahead is your blank canvas and you can paint it any way you choose. Sleep in a bit, enjoy the paper, do a little morning exercising, take a walk around the quiet neighborhood while everyone else is working, sit down to that book that has been gathering dust, ahhh sweet freedom. I do believe it is in our best interest to not just fill up space but to pursue worthwhile endeavors, things that give us a genuine feeling of accomplishment. We talk about pursuing our passion in retirement and there is no better time.
  • We get to watch our children grow, mature, and navigate their lives, seeing a little of ourselves in each of them. As grandchildren enter the picture, we once again have the opportunity to see life through the eyes of a child – everything a first, new and exciting and overwhelming. As time passes, we witness how our kids deal with family raising “situations” just like we faced and we get to see just how good they are. Of course we lend an encouraging word of advice along the way but we know they have to go through the experiences first hand just like we did.
  • Ideally we have been saving over the years and are relatively financially secure. Even with the ups and downs of the economy, we hope to no longer be living check to check. Time to enjoy a mid-week escape to a romantic beach side B&B or to plan for that multi-week adventure somewhere we have not yet been. We stay frugal as we have learned that is a key to surviving but we also enjoy this present moment

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – growing old is cool. Take advantage of your well-earned position in life. Live a little – make that live a LOT! Do it now because each day you wait, those youngsters out there are creeping up on us and someday soon will be challenging our roles as the coolest oldsters on the block.

Remember, you are only old once!  🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to lovebeingretired@hotmail.com.

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.

6 thoughts on “Why growing old is cool

  1. Yes, I agree… during retirement, we get the opportunity to do what we want to do. But we’d darn well better figure out what it is we want to do. For if we don’t, we run the danger of waking up in the morning and sort of drifting our way through the day… then the next day, then the next. Yep, it may well take some time to find our “true retired self,” but it’s important that we do it. For then our retirement becomes rewarding. Bill

  2. I’m not sure I have ever been “cool” except in my rock and roll DJ days. Then, all it took was long hair and hanging out with the right musicians. It is amazing how cool a geek can be alongside Jethro Tull.

    My wife and i will sometimes comment about how the world is changing for us retired-age folks. I can’t imagine my parents wearing blue jeans and sneakers at my age. I know they would not have been involved with Facebook, Twitter, blogging, or smartphones.

    The thing about our generation that I find most encouraging is this willingness to experiment and not follow the pattern laid down by previous ones.

  3. Bill you are correct indeed – without some kind of direction not only does retirement risk being boring but I would venture unhealthy. A retired life without some worthwhile pursuit can be disheartening and depressing.

  4. Bob you sound like a rebel with a cause! It is very interesting how our retirement generation compares to that or our folks. Different strokes for different folks.

  5. I hear you and like the words. The mind is willing but the body is weak. I don’t know about cool. What I do think is that this is it. Time is running out. this is no time for convention and doing what you are supposed to do. this is the time to be outrageous.

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