They say, “with age comes wisdom,” and I’m learning just how true that is with each passing year. Aging does have its benefits! Read on for some things we can only truly learn when we get older.
Things We Can Only Learn When We Get Older
As is often the case, I was inspired by a quote I came across that said, “Funny thing about getting older, your eyesight starts getting weaker but your ability to see through people gets much better.”
I nodded in agreement. That is SO true! Then thought, “What else have I learned over the years that I couldn’t know when I was younger?” Read on to see what I came up with! We’ll start by diving into that quote a bit more.
People aren’t always what they seem
When we’re kids, we pretty much take people at face value. It takes years of experience to learn that people aren’t always what they seem, to see through the façade and learn that what you see isn’t always what you get. I don’t just mean that in a negative, “age has taught me how to spot fakes” way, either. I think we also learn how to be more empathetic.
As we get older, we learn that people aren’t just one-dimensional beings. Maybe we see through a friend’s grumpy attitude to the pain she’s hiding beneath, or realize that a co-worker’s inappropriate humor is an attempt to mask social anxiety. We just see each other more clearly, period, and we learn to relate to each other better because of it.
We no longer owe each other explanations
As kids, we’re constantly forced to explain ourselves. It seems like one adult or another is always asking us why. Why did you do this or not do that or think this or not say that. Why, why, why? It’s no wonder we grow up thinking we owe everyone an 800-word status update to justify every thought, feeling and belief that we have.
As adults, we finally learn that we don’t owe anyone an explanation for how we feel. That goes both ways, though. They don’t owe us a 10-page thesis explaining their beliefs, either. We’re all perfectly free to believe what we want without running it by anyone else first. We’re also free to avoid anyone who believes things we find appalling. It’s very liberating!
Family truly is everything
I think this is the most important lesson that we can really only grasp as we get older. Family truly is everything, and nothing should stand in the way of the bond that we have with each other. Not politics, not distance, not even a major difference in opinion. We really learn to value each other so much more.
I think we also finally realize just how much our parents gave up for us. Even more important, perhaps, we realize that they didn’t even think of those things as “sacrifices,” so we can let go of some of our guilt. They did it because they love us, because they knew something we’re finally realizing- there’s very little we wouldn’t do for someone we love.
Never take tomorrow for granted
If I could talk to my younger self, I’d say, “You really never know what the future holds, so soak up every moment of joy with the people that you love.”One of the hardest lessons that comes with age is the fact that tomorrow is never promised, so we should never take a single moment for granted. It’s just a shame that it often takes a tragedy or great loss to realize this. We also learn that we should never, ever wait to tell someone that we love them.
Learn to enjoy the quieter moments in life
As kids, we constantly want, want, want and go, go, go. We’re never really content with what we have or where we are. I’m not saying kids are greedy. A little impatient, maybe, but not definitely not greedy. We just knew that there was more out there, and we wanted to experience everything. After all, part of growing up is finding out what the world has to offer.
With age comes the ability to just sit back and enjoy the silence, to appreciate a good cup of tea or a great book. Sure, we still chase after new experiences. We just learn how to enjoy the time in between, rather than constantly looking forward to the next adventure.
Home is the best place to be on a Friday night!
This one is the subject of so many memes, but it really is true! When we were kids, teens, and even young adults, we judged our social success by where we spent Friday night. We felt pathetic if we weren’t at the hottest new hangout. Heaven forbid we actually spent it home alone!
Fast-forward to our “grown-up” years, we love nothing more than slipping into cozy PJs and cuddling on the couch with a good movie. Where we once plotted ways to get into the hottest parties, we’re now trying to come up with excuses to get us out of them!
Learning is a lifelong adventure
Perhaps most of all, we learn that we’re never done learning. Education isn’t just something that takes place between four walls. We also finally realize that learning still counts even if you don’t get a fancy certificate at the end of the lesson.
We thirst for knowledge in a way that our younger selves couldn’t even imagine. Seriously, could your 13-year-old self really imagine enjoying reading a new book about nutrition? Every single day brings with it a new chance to learn something unexpected, and that’s just amazing!
See, there really are benefits to growing up! As the poet Robert Browning wrote, “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be!” Enjoy the journey. As far as we know, we only get one chance at this, so let’s make it count.