Aging. It’s an inevitable part of life (if we’re lucky enough to make it there), but no one wants to do it. To some extent, this may be because of the stereotypes we hold—whether we’re aware of them or not. Mainstream advertising and media rarely show older people, and the ones they do show are depressed, feeble-bodied individuals who are made to look like they can’t do anything on their own. And when it comes to featuring mature women, we see exaggerated depictions of menopause that make it seem like literally anything would be more enjoyable than hot flashes and night sweats.
But here’s the good news: There are plenty of upsides to getting older, and it’s nothing to be afraid of. In many ways, it can be even better than being in your 20s or 30s. To gather some additional insight into the best parts of getting older, we talked to Katie Fogarty, the host of the A Certain Age podcast —a podcast about life after 50 for “women who are unafraid to age out loud,” and Liza Carballo, Vice President of Brand and Customer Experience on the Bonafide team. Keep reading to find out why aging really isn’t so bad after all.
1. More Control Over Your Time
“Even though the house may be empty with kids off at school, there’s a certain new-found calm that can be appreciated either on your own or with your partner after menopause,” says Liza. Even if you don’t have children, there’s a certain feeling of freedom that comes with getting older that didn’t exist before. Whether it’s an exercise class or a new hobby or even a total career change, your time is actually yours for the first time in a long time. If there’s something you’ve wanted to do for years but never had the chance, now is the time to focus on yourself, gather your gumption, and just do it!
2. Confidence and a Better Sense of Self
Speaking of focusing on yourself (and having more time to do so), getting older means you have a better sense of who you are, what you want, and what you’re capable of. As you get older, you can become more confident in your own skin. “I’ve found with age that no good comes out of beating yourself up about how you think someone else is feeling about you,” says Liza. These years are also the perfect time to take stock of your life. “Pause, look around, and survey the landscape,” says Katie. And if you don’t like what you see, reinvent yourself. Take the lessons you’ve learned through the years, and the courage and self-awareness you’ve developed, and run with it.
3. Stronger Relationships
Whether they’re romantic or platonic, relationships can often strengthen with age. Surface-level relationships naturally fade away, leaving only the true, deep connections strongly intact. And not only do you have more time to devote to them, but you also can become better at them with time. “You start to realize that life is too short to always delicately walk on eggshells. If there’s something bothering you, if there’s something you’re hoping to resolve, speak openly, directly and truthfully,” says Liza. Katie adds, “Nothing hums seamlessly along without attention, care, and effort. I am better at bringing thoughtful intention to my marriage, being supportive, being (mostly) considerate and being clear and direct about what is working or not working.”
4. Wisdom and Perspective
As the years go by, you develop a level of wisdom and a perspective that can only come with age. You gain a better sense of what really matters, and you know that nothing lasts forever—good or bad. As Katie says, “This too shall pass. And when I say that, I see it as a double-sided coin. The hard stuff that feels like it will never end—sleepless newborns, potty training, the teen years, the uphill battle to return to work—all of this will eventually pass and smooth out. But so too does the good stuff. The delicious baby days, the family dinners with all your kids around the table. It will all end. Focus and be present and soak it all in. No feeling is forever.”
We know what you’re thinking. Menopause? On a list of why getting older is a good thing? Obviously, menopause is not always a positive experience—and sometimes, it’ll have you forgetting what day of the week it is, crying at a cellphone commercial, or searching “why do calories exist” online. But let’s not forget the upsides. Remember the awful cramps, heavy flows, and pregnancy concerns that came with having your period every month? That’s all in the past now. “It’s freeing to not have to deal with or plan around when you might be getting your period or where you are in your ovulation cycle,” says Liza. “Acknowledging these small positives can make a big difference.” Katie adds, “Not even the unwelcome side effects of sleep disruptions and bouts of mood instability could dent the hard-won confidence that comes with age.”
Age is a number, but it’s not just a number—it’s so much more than that. Age is power. Age is the experiences, love, knowledge, failures, successes, trials, and blessings you’ve had thus far. Age is the confidence, wisdom, and unique perspective you’ve developed through the years. Not only is getting older a gift that not everyone has the privilege of receiving, but it is also the beginning of a liberating and exciting season of your life that is rife with possibility. Appreciate all that has gotten you to this point, but don’t forget to look forward to all that is yet to come.