I originally wrote this post last year and have revised it a bit to reflect my current feelings. Happy Birthday to me! Enjoy!
I hear it all the time…”another year older, urgh,” “I hate getting older,” “I hate my birthday and the reminder I’m getting old,” “getting older sucks.” I use to be one of these people. I cried on my 10th birthday because I didn’t want to be double digits. I’m sure many people reading this are still those people that post on social media about how getting older is terrible or complain to their family and friends about it. I, however, strongly disagree - getting older doesn’t suck.
Whenever I hear someone say that they hate getting older I wince inside knowing that they have this privilege yet they don’t fully appreciate it. Do you have any idea how lucky you are to be here living and getting older? Not everyone gets to get older but you do and are everyday. It is one of the best things that can happen to you. You are here with a life to live, adventures to be had, goals to set and achieve and love to share.
I wish Mike was here getting older. I know there are other widows, friends, brothers and sisters and parents who wish the same for their loved ones. There is nothing nice about being forever young. To be forever 28 is limited. I’m not saying he didn’t have a good life while he was here. It is not about that. It’s just that there was more life to live that got cut short.
On Sunday I turn 30. I will be 2 years older than he will ever be. That feels weird. It’s a hard truth that I’ve already lived 2 more years than him. However, I still know how fortunate I am to be turning 30. I know that not everyone gets that privilege of reaching 30, or 40, or 55, or 70 or whatever that age that we just once assumed that we would obviously reach. I don’t know how long I get to live for but in the here and the now at (almost) 30, I know I have so much to be thankful for and so much to give. I am living now and can make the most of that. I’m incredibly aware that I have reached this age and am continuing to get older.
If I still haven’t convinced you that getting older is something to be thankful for and not something that sucks then why is that? Is it that getting older involves more responsibility? More decisions? I think what we often forget is how much control we actually have over our lives and decisions. Sure, there is pressure to do certain things at certain ages but really, says who? If you don’t want to or aren't ready to buy a house or get a “career” job or whatever it is that society suggests, then don’t. It’s your life. There are other ways to live. I think we tend to complicate otherwise simple things by thinking about what others want and not really thinking about what is best for ourselves. Yes, you’ll probably have to explain yourself more times than you want about your decisions but really, explaining (or ignoring others) about your decisions is better than living with decisions and growing older with a life that you aren’t motivated to lead.
I think what is harder than dealing with the responsibilities of getting older is the possibility of deteriorating physical health. I’m not there yet and I’m fortunate to be in good health so I don’t want to insult anyone with commenting on struggles I haven't experienced. As you get older there are aspects that are out of your control but there is still a lot you can do. I have a hard time listening to older adults complain about aging being terrible because of their health but not doing much other than sitting on the couch. I see my mom in her late 50s who has had her string of health issues having fitness and healthy eating as a regular part of her routine and my grandpa in his late 80s with terrible eyesight still trying to go out for walks and keep active. I think there will always be barriers that make life difficult but there’s also always reasons why your life and continuing to get older is worthwhile. The trick is finding them and pursuing that.
I could focus on why getting older sucks. However, I could also focus on how fortunate I am to be alive and be turning 30. I see my gray hairs starting to come in and I smile because they remind me that I’m here to live another day.