Better with Age: Gratitude Can Change Your Mindset

Better with Age: Gratitude Can Change Your Mindset

MenoLabs News | Thu, May 18, 2023

Do you know what other things get better with age? Leather, whiskey, and jeans.

When I use the expression “better with age,” I’m talking about appreciating the faded color and thinning texture of the denim, and scuffs, and scratches on my boots that add character. My favorite bag, the one I use for work, is red leather, made in the 1970s. It is at least as old as I am, and I adore it.

There are plenty of things that get better with age, and I’m not just talking about our material possessions. I’m talking about us, as humans. When we were younger, in our 20s and 30s, we faced real challenges while navigating the world around us. These struggles took a toll on my happiness, and it was a time of real instability for me. My early adult life consisted of looking for a job, starting a family, and overcoming financial issues. But with aging, I’ve gained an ability to more fully enjoy the life I’ve built. Do I still have unknowns in my life? Absolutely!

But I am definitely happier now then when I was younger. You may find this hard to believe, but memory can get better with age, too. Let me explain. Semantic memory, which is the knowledge of the world and experiences, and our recollection of facts and figures has a magical way of resisting age. Rather than making me regret the passage of time, it makes me want to go on more vacations. (Someday, right?)

We make better decisions as we age

One of the perks of getting older is that we are more emotionally stable and less impulsive, helping us become better at making decisions. Sure, a sudden and difficult choice can throw a spanner in the works, but overall, as we age, we tend to understand the weight of our decisions, and we also recognize and appreciate the value of our time and energy.

The accumulated wisdom from our years on this. Earth feeds our empathy for ourselves and others. We can place a narrative around our lives, build a story of our personal experiences, and recognize how far we’ve come. All of this can improve our mindset around aging.

Getting older is a privilege

Growing older and staying optimistic is a choice. By putting gratitude front and center, our outlook on life can instantly change. We can see that age isn’t the enemy. I'm learning to appreciate my aging body in the same way that I appreciate my red leather bag: Still sexy, still useful, and still full of life.
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