Getting Old is a Gift
This year I turn 45. Back when I was a kid that sounded old. My Mom was just 20 years old when she gave birth to me, so I had a young Mom growing up. She was always active and exploring her passions, and told me that age is just a number, and that life is a state of mind. So even at 45, in my head, I’m still 23 years old. I don’t pay attention to what’s supposed to happen to my body at particular ages, or what doctor tests I should be receiving. Instead, I listen to my body, tune in to how it’s feeling, and what it needs to feel good. But I will say, with age comes wisdom, and I recently realized that getting old is a gift.
Maturing towards middle-age and appreciating all that I’ve experienced and learned up until now only excites me more about this journey I’m on. I’ve learned so much already; what else lies out there for me to discover? What other life-expanding, thought-provoking moments shall I bump into? I can only imagine.
But as I stand in my current shoes with the wisdom of 45 years under my belt, I had an ‘Aha’ moment when I heard a line in a movie that said, “Getting old is a gift.” That resonated with me in that moment, and my eyes teared up and my heart went heavy. It made me think of my kids. The past 14 years of being a parent flashed before my eyes, and a feeling of intense love filled my heart—what a gift it’s been to be their mother.
I got to feel the flip side of getting old, and it’s so much more than what I thought it was. As someone who doesn’t give aging any thought, I forgot about it being a gift. The gift of discovering who I am and how I fit in this world. The gift of awareness and appreciation for all the life lessons I get to learn. And the gift of wisdom in time to hold onto the things that matter the most in this world.
I think when you view aging as a gift versus a punishment, you walk through life with appreciation and anticipation for what’s next. You’re hopeful and open to new experiences. Perhaps getting old is a gift because it gives way to hindsight. My life up to this point has had many ups and downs. I’ve experienced several life-altering situations—good and bad—but all necessary. But when I was young and amid chaos, I didn’t understand why things happened to me the way they did. I could only process and understand to a certain point. But as time passed and I would look back at those moments in my life, I began to understand and accept the reasons why it happened to me, even the bad stuff. And I know now that it made me who I am today, and I am grateful. I received many gifts from that hindsight, like how not to be a victim, how to grieve, have no regrets, how to let go of what doesn’t serve me, and, most importantly, how to love myself just as I am.
The best gift of getting old is time, not the opposite.
Time isn’t the enemy. It’s on our side, it wants us to thrive in it. Time is space for which we are meant to expand our body, mind, and soul. The gift of time is invaluable; it’s the one thing that connects us with certainty and provides pause to ponder all it has offered. Embrace getting older and the time that comes with it, for it is a gift no one else can give you.
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