A smiling grandfather hugs his two grandchildren.

Image: Shutterstock

As I get older, I’ve noticed a handful of changes in my personality: things I’m less likely to tolerate, things I’m more likely to pursue. And with only a year until my father retires, I’ve been thinking a lot about aging and how it changes us, just as much as any other life experience. So how happy was I to find other writing on aging and why it’s not something to be dreaded, but to be enjoyed—maybe even cherished?

You’ll just be happier.

Research suggests that as we age, we become more content and emotionally stable. Laura Carstensen, psychology and director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, says that when you’re older, “the what-ifs have been solved. So you are less stressed and can—finally—relax.”

Your attitude changes from “what can I do” to “what can I enjoy.”

Once you’ve lived a full life of experiences both tough and rewarding, your worldview will change to whatever you think you’ll enjoy doing rather than what you think you need to do. You’ll understand better what you need and what you like, and you’ll have a whole life of experience to inform your decisions.

Nobody cares what you wear!

When you get older, no one will pay attention to those funky shoes and loose-fitting pants you’ve got on. You get a kind of free pass when it comes to fashion—you’ve probably lived a life of high heels or itchy business suits, and now you can relax in comfy orthopedic shoes and Christmas sweaters all year round—if you want to.

You will know who you are.

This is a good one. With age, you will have a better sense of what your own voice sounds like and what is most important to you—and more importantly, you’ll gain the confidence to navigate tough situations better. You will know what you can and cannot do because you’ve done all those things before. Past challenges will help you deal with future ones.

There are plenty of other things about getting old, too, but being able to look back on a life full of love and learning is truly wonderful.