As I approach my 61st birthday I have been looking back over my last year and thinking about what it was really like turning 60. I was prepared by many friends that turning 60 was a tough step – a milestone birthday. I could no longer pretend I was anything other than ‘getting old’. But I disagree as I have found this year, if anything, a joy.
Ageing can seem like a scary prospect, but a wealth of scientific studies have found that youth isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There are plenty of cases in which human beings peak well into middle and old age.
Teenagers, for instance, may have vitality on their side, but older people are generally more psychologically stable. And so it goes with several phenomena people experience as they age.
Apparently Life satisfaction peaks at 69. Remember that study in Germany that found 23-year-olds were particularly satisfied with their lives? After a dip in middle age, life satisfaction peaked again at about 69 years old. Even more intriguing, people over 60 had better life satisfaction than people 55 and up predicted they would feel five years down the line.
On a lighter note I have listed some of the joys of turning 60.
- You know who your real friends are
- You have learned how to weed out the users and the emotionally needy from your life.
- You know that relationships trump money.
- And you know that good health trumps everything.
- You know that the love of your dogs is unconditional and pretty special (as love goes)!
- You don’t even think about wearing high heels.
- You truly understand other people and can appreciate all types of personalities.
- You have weathered marital storms and come through the better for it
- You recognise the love of a good husband as something very special
- You know that dieting is part of life now.
- You can dress how you like, when you like.
- You like your own company and enjoy being on your own sometimes.
- You know it is fine to stay at home on Saturday night
- And to admit to enjoying Strictly Come Dancing!
- You know when you need a nap and make the time to take one.
- You take care of yourself because, as you know, if you don’t, who will?
- You know what really matters and have stopped striving for needless goals.
- You accept that some things are simply outside your control.
- You understand that being a good listener may be better than being a good talker.
- You know the value of anyone who makes things easier for you.
- You get to see your kids turn into really interesting adults.
- You are okay following rules but aren’t too old to try and change a few of the them.
- You know that elders aren’t the only ones you can learn from; younger people have a perspective worth being open to.
- You have amassed a rich diversity of life experiences to draw on when facing a challenge.
- You realise beyond a shadow of a doubt that turning 60 is just a number anyway, so why stress?
I certainly don’t want to turn back the clock; I want to give myself the gift of a well-lived life. People who “hate getting old” are idiots. To me every year is a privilege and I intend to keep enjoying each day, week and year that I continue to live on this wonderful planet of ours.
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