20 Benefits of Growing Old
When we're young, we often wish that the hands of time would slow down so we wouldn't have to grow old. But little do we know that there are numerous benefits to growing old, which we often can't see from our youthful perspective. From enjoying more free time for travel, family, and new hobbies to gaining a new sense of self-confidence to do what you want, and even saving money with senior discounts, our later years offer plenty to look forward to.
For those who decide to retire after a long, satisfying career, there are also plenty of benefits to getting older -- including not having to clock in for work. Forget waking to an alarm clock, battling through rush hour traffic, and grinding through the workday. Instead, you can feel free to travel, pursue new hobbies, volunteer to help others, and discover plenty of other fulfilling, productive ways to spend your time, now that you don't have to go to work.
Without work to get in the way, you'll have more time to spend with your family as you get older. Whether taking a trip together, joining them for family dinners, or enjoying activities together on the weekends, spending quality time with your family is not only fun, but also offers plenty of benefits, including reduced stress, improved cognitive skills, and more healthy activity.
While some of our faculties may decline as we age -- hearing, vision, patience with new-fangled technology -- others seem to improve the older we get. Numerous studies have suggested that our happiness increases as we get older, which is certainly something to look forward to. And while the exact causes of that increase are still being studied -- from income levels to the time period when you were born -- other studies indicate that happiness can lead to a longer, healthier life. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways we can actively pursue a happier life.
While as young adults we may have begrudgingly trudged off to work each day, as we grow older, many of us enjoy work much more. Studies suggest that older workers tend to be happier and more satisfied with their jobs than younger people. While in many cases that satisfaction is due to older workers having climbed the income ladder and gaining a more secure position, many people also enjoy the sense of purpose and community that work brings and will often return to work even after they've retired.
Most grandparents will tell you that one of their favorite parts about getting older is spoiling their grandkids. Whether it's showering them with gifts, spending quality time together, passing on valuable life lessons and wisdom, or laying the foundation for a secure financial future, grandparents derive plenty of joy and satisfaction from treating their grandkids.
With more free time to enjoy after retirement or even after your kids have grown up and moved out, making plans with friends is often at the top the list of benefits for many older adults. From planning dinner parties and playing cards to traveling together and playing sports together, there are plenty of fun activities you can enjoy with your friends. You can also use this time to make new friends. Research also suggests that maintaining social connections as we age is key to staying healthy.
As we get older, our priorities can shift away from the mundane or trivial worries of youth, and instead we focus on valuing our time -- whether it's spent with loved ones or pursuing our lifelong dreams. Once we've reached a certain level of maturity or financial security, we often feel liberated to follow our dreams that we may not have had the time or money to explore when younger. For some, that may mean going back to school to explore a new career or passion, while others may want to travel the world or challenge themselves in some other way.
As we have more free time, we gain the opportunity to develop new skills or explore new hobbies. Whether it's learning a new language or musical instrument, gardening, woodworking, or a new sport, there are plenty of ways to challenge yourself and discover a new passion. Some of those new hobbies could even earn a bit of extra money.
Helping others offers a multitude of rewards, and as we get older, we not only have more time to volunteer, but can often offer even more to those in need thanks to years of experience. Whether it's lending a hand in your community at a school, hospital, or a non-profit, or traveling to other communities to help out, volunteering not only assists others, but it also offers benefits to us as we get older, including lower rates of depression and dementia, a sense of purpose and belonging, and important physical exercise.
While people may have stopped accepting your college ID for student discounts years ago, you can still look forward to saving a bundle thanks to senior discounts. Whether you're getting a break at the movie theater or restaurants in your neighborhood, or saving big bucks on hotels and rental cars when you travel, there are tons of ways to save with senior discounts. Some benefits even kick in as early as age 50.
Forget about the fashion police and trying to keep up with the latest styles, as you get older, you can enjoy wearing whatever you like. For some, that means sporting the comfiest clothes and supportive footwear, while others opt for more flashy attire once they discover their style maven without worrying what others think. Whatever you choose, wear it with confidence -- you've earned it.
Not preoccupying yourself with the opinion of others extends beyond just what we wear. As we get older, we're blessed with the freedom that comes from not worrying about what others think about anything we do. Whether it's expressing an opinion or telling a joke, taking up a new hobby or traveling the globe, you can look forward to doing what you want, when you want. That new-found self-confidence may even lead to discovering a new passion later in life.
While tax season may not be your favorite time of year, it can certainly become more pleasant as you get older. Depending on where you live in the U.S., there are a variety of benefits available to seniors from no tax on Social Security income to property tax exemptions.
Whether you globe-trotted when you were younger or have a new-found wanderlust, getting older offers the opportunity to travel to places you may not have had the time to explore before. Whether you're looking to pack up the RV to visit national parks across the U.S. or journeying overseas, there are also plenty of ways to save while you travel, including senior discounts and group trips.
While many people worry that they'll become less sharp as they get older, numerous studies suggest that we can actually become smarter and more clever as we age. Researchers have found that as you age, you're brain continues to grow, connections between the two hemispheres strengthen, your problem-solving skill sharpen, and you're better able to see the bigger picture, among other benefits.
Whether it's because of an early bedtime, an open schedule thanks to retirement, health reasons, or just out of habit, eating dinner earlier in the day seems to be a right of passage as we age. And while an earlier supper may make coordinating dinner plans difficult with our younger friends and family members, we can enjoy saving plenty of cash with all of those early bird dinner specials.
While Alzheimer's disease and other forms of memory loss are certainly no laughing matter, we're likely to have harmless, forgetful moments as we age. Also known as "having a senior moment," these temporary memory lapses become a great excuse as we age in the event that we forget someone's name or where we put the house keys. Of course, if there's something you'd like to pretend to forget, like a chore around the house, you can also conveniently claim a senior moment then, too.
Another convenient memory trick as we age is remembering fondly all of the great things we've done in life, while letting the bad stuff fade into the distance. As we get older, we realize that there's not much use in dwelling on negativity from our past, so instead we can focus on all of the wonderful experiences, people, and achievements from our lives.
While accepting the fact that you need a hearing aid may not be a high point of getting older, there are certain perks that come with the territory. If you have a pesky neighbor or get caught in a boring conversation with a stranger, you can always turn your hearing aid down and then just nod politely while enjoying a bit of peace and quiet. The same trick can be used when you go to your grandkids' music recitals and some of the other students' musical skills leave much to be desired.
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