“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”
People are naturally afraid of dying yet it seems that aging is almost equally terrifying for some. On the 2009 literature review on the public perceptions of older people and ageing, it was revealed that although older people are perceived as loyal sociable and warm, negative perceptions predominate. For example, older people were stereotyped as sickly, unattractive, sexless, grumpy, unhappy, and mentally incapacitated. No wonder anti-aging creams and surgeries sell like pancakes.
However, a 2011 research found that even as age diminishes physical well-being, it improves overall emotional experience. The study led by Laura Carstensen of the Department of Psychology in Stanford University points out the improvement of emotional well-being from early adulthood to old age. This flies in the face of stereotypes about aging; however, old age is still perceived as a period of sadness by young people and older people themselves, even though the majority of older people describe themselves as quite satisfied.
Emotional well-being doesn’t mean consistent and pure happiness. Rather, it’s the preference to invest in meaningful experiences that elicit richly complex emotions, like gratitude with a sense of fragility and happiness tinged with sadness. The researchers found that mixed emotions increase through age, and effective experiences become more stable. In short, old age creates less drama!
With age really does come wisdom, so why lie about your age? The more you resist it, the less you age gracefully. You might be too busy stretching time that you’ve forgotten how it is to be truly alive.