People can be fickle. They complain in the summer because it’s too hot, but it’s also too cold in the winter. Many take a similar stance when it comes to aging. When you’re young you can’t wait to be old, and when you get older you reminisce about what it was like when you were younger.
I’ve never been one to sit around and wish for a different circumstance. When it was cold I played hockey outside. When it was hot I played indoors at the arena. You take what you’re given and you make the best of it. The same goes with aging.
When you’re older, you reach a point where you fully embrace who you are and realize the things that matter most to you
The only limits to getting older are the ones you set up for yourself in your mind. Why can’t you learn a new language in your 70s? Why can’t you see the world in your 80s? There’s a great line from Betty White in The Golden Girls where she says, “The older you get, the better you get. Unless you’re a banana.” Don’t be a banana.
Here are five reasons why being a senior is great:
- Wisdom: when you’re older you have the advantage of decades of experience. The more you have lived, the more chances you have to learn from your experiences. That knowledge has prepared me for challenges I’ve faced both professionally and personally.
- Beauty: make no mistake about it, being old is beautiful. Whether it’s the grace of a Helen Mirren, the style of a Sofia Loren, or the charm of a Christopher Plummer, older adults set the bar high for others to try to meet.
- Perspective: hindsight is always 20/20 and as you get older you gain a certain perspective that allows you to approach the world in a calm and level-headed way. You don’t sweat the small stuff and instead keep your eyes open to the bigger picture.
- Confidence: earlier in this message I said the only limits are the ones you set for yourself. I recognize it’s a bold statement. When you’re older, you reach a point where you fully embrace who you are and realize the things that matter most to you. You can achieve so much more when you don’t worry about what others will think of you.
- Leadership: throughout history, elders have been central leaders as their communities relied on them to pass down information and traditions. The wisdom and perspective they gained over their lives allows seniors to play a critical role in the functioning of society, especially today.
Being an older adult is great when you choose to be the master of your own destiny. Once retired, you have the time to follow your passions. I believe that older adults have a unique ability to make a lasting impression, either on their family, their friends, their community, their country or the world. The opportunities are limitless, as long as you’re fearless.
Hazel McCallion joined Revera as Chief Elder Officer in 2015. Her leadership guides how Revera can improve care for our residents as she uses her position to challenge ageism and preconceptions about aging.