There's a common misconception by younger generations that getting older sucks. I am not going to lie, there are some physical challenges but aging today isn't like it was 50 to 100 years ago. We have many more choices than our mothers and grandmothers did. We also have access to better health care and that means we can be healthier longer and thus remain active. There are lots of reasons why continuing to celebrate birthdays is a good thing, especially when you consider the alternative to NOT having birthdays. Getting older doesn't have to suck.
1. Having fun doesn't have to stop as we age. In fact, we can actually have more fun because we have learned what we truly enjoy doing and we don't feel compelled to do things we don't. I just returned home from a conference for midlife women and we had a blast. Friday night there was a disco party and the women who attended were really moving and grooving. We danced like it was 1970 something. The women in attendance ranged in age from 40 to 75 and they were all shaking their groove thing. There were a few men around but for the most part it was just women having fun with other women and not worrying about getting asked to dance. I went to a lot of high school dances where my bottom never got off the bleachers because no boys wanted to dance with a girl taller than they were. These days I love dancing with my husband and sometimes we slow dance in our kitchen to a favorite song, but getting down with a group of women my age and older just because we wanted to dance was liberating!
2. I'm not as vain after 50 as I was when I was younger. I still like dressing up and looking my best but my best will never be what it was in my 20s, 30s, and 40s and that's ok. I have five beautiful, wonderful children who left their mark on my body and I wouldn't trade them for all the liposuction in America. Now I worry a whole lot more about being healthy than I do about my appearance. The people who love you, love you for your heart, not what you look like. I knew that years ago but I couldn't accept that my belly had stretched to the point of no return (I blame the twins). My mid-section is sort of like my grandmother's petticoat that she refused to throw away and wore until the elastic was shot and it fell off at the grocery store in the produce aisle. The good news is that even though the elastic in my belly is shot ... there's no chance of it falling off. It's more like a lose tire of flab around my middle that jiggles when I laugh a lot.
3. Being older means you are able to detect the difference in a true friend and fake friend. Hint: Just because you have 2,000 friends on Facebook does not mean you have 2,000 friends. A true friend is the one who celebrates your success without jealousy and holds your hand and listens when things go wrong. If your friends are not there when you are having problems they are fair weather friends and you better not count on them for anything more important than liking your status on Facebook.
4. You learn to value time. I have finally learned to say, "No, I can't do that, I have something more important do." Something more important might be watching the grass grow, but that's okay. Why should I spend my time on something I really don't want to do? I wouldn't throw a fist full of dollars out the car window because I want to spend my money wisely. If we learn to value our time as much or more than we do our money then we won't waste it. We only have so much time to spend. Spend it well.
5. You appreciate the smaller things in life more. I don't miss a sunset. I stop what I'm doing and go watch. I record the sound of my grandchildren's laughter and listen to it when I need to feel pure joy. I give hugs now, not handshakes and if I see daffodils on the side of the road I stop and pick them. My eyesight may not be 20/20 any more but my perspective and perception of things is much clearer now than it was when I was young.
6. You can fart in public and get away with it. People still notice and might back away from you but most of them won't have the guts to call you on it. Years ago I would have been devastated if I'd farted in public. Now I would be mildly annoyed that my fiber bars had caused me to back fire. Life happens and people pass gas. A friend of mine, Elaine Ambrose is famous for farting in an MRI machine. Her article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elaine-ambrose/dont-fart-during-an-mri_b_6044578.html here on Huff Po has been read all over the world. So go ahead and fart if you have to. Laugh about it or blame it on the person standing next to you. Whatever makes you feel better.
If you are young don't dread getting older. There is a universe full of other things to worry about. See what you can do to end world hunger, global warming or clean up our political and eco systems. That should keep you busy and take your mind off your next birthday.
Stay busy. Stay active and enjoy the ride. You may just find that getting older doesn't suck as bad as some people say it does. How we look at life is always determined by our attitude. Negative people will get more negative as they age and positive people will continue to look on the sunny side of life. Why do you think so many of us move to Florida?
Think positive about getting older. It really is a privilege denied to many.