Old is Good (Part 1)

You’re going to get old. Even if you refuse to accept this fact, and you sweat at the gym, and jump out of planes and run marathons and get “work” done and look better than anybody in your age group, you’re still going to get old, and then you’re going to die.

Okay, so that’s a bummer.

But what if this fact didn’t scare us? Maybe if we could accept the realityof mortality, we could relax and enjoy our lives more.

And just maybe then we could stop measuring ourselves against the gold standard of “youth”. Sure, young people are pretty, and they seem awesome because of what you imagine their potential to be. But old people – yes, that’s you, and I’m not saying it as an insult – are to be valued for things other than looks.

For example, my adult kids get all dramatic about human behavior, because they’ve never yet had to deal with certain types. They look to me for answers, and I have those answers. Sometimes I actually sound wise – but compared to a 30-year-old, that’s not so hard. They’re cute but they haven’t been around as long. Stuff scares them. They lean toward overreacting, but I throw out the lifeline and reel them back in and they’re grateful. And they’ll learn, becoming stronger and wiser, and then their smiles will become wrinkled and their hair will fall out.

Pretty soon, if they’re lucky, they’ll be as old and wise as me.


  1. says

    Vonnie, you know how they say old age isn’t for sissies? Well, neither is middle age! I guess we’re supposed to gain the strength to rise above it, but my 85-yr-old mom still worries about her looks, so I don’t think it ever ends.

  2. says

    I thought I would be one of those women who’d be ok with aging gracefully because I was never a knock out to begin with. But as the things I used to get compliments on (my eyes, my legs) start to sag and droop-I’m thinking this isn’t as easy as I thought.

  3. says

    The good thing is we don’t have to get old alone. And, as my mother said, “Don’t worry about your sex appeal as you get older…eyesight goes faster than muscle tone. I’m having fun doing a sort of ‘pay it forward’ blog on what I’ve found useful and funny in two decades of doing psychology. (Right now, I’m running a special on boxed sets of my body scannings from airports around the world. )

  4. Java says

    Turned 50 this past week and didn’t even think about how young I look or if I should lose weight. I thought of all the knowledge and experience I’ve gained so far and looking forward to the wisdom I can share with my grandkids. My daughter claims that she has wisdom but that is usually before the ‘World is going to end because …’ statement.

    My daughter and son-in-law took us out for dinner on my birthday. We were walking to the restaurant entrance and they stopped and turned around and faced us. At the time we were holding our two grandkids hands and laughing with them. My daughter said and I quote: “Okay, listen you two. We are going to have a nice family birthday dinner. No loud laughing, no tickling and no playing rudely with your food and eat the food that is on YOUR plate. Got it?” My granddaughter quickly chimed “Okay, Mommy. We will be good.” My daughter said “I wasn’t talking to you, baby. Those are instructions for your Nana and Poppa.”

    Yeah, getting older is awesome!!!

  5. says

    I’m so with you on this (including the adult children thing…lol). I went on a trip of a lifetime this summer and I didn’t wait until I lost 30lbs. We tend to want to reward ourselves for things by doing something cool. Why not just let it happen because we can? I say do it. Do it now!

  6. says

    Lynne: Not ALL young people are pretty! And not ALL “old people” are wise! And some, unfortunately, don’t get the chance to “get old and then die.” I know what you’re trying to say, and you’re right — it needs to be repeated — but generalizations like these don’t help me! I think everybody needs to give themselves a reality check (perhaps that’s a harder thing to do in your part of the country where the people are naturally — or medically — beautiful??); we need to accept the “stage” of life we’re in, enjoy it to the fullest, and embrace the next stage when we come to it.

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