Giving Thanks for Growing Old

This Thanksgiving, take a look at the positive aspects of aging.

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We are all well versed in the negatives that inevitably infiltrate our lives as we get older. Simple things like tying our shoes become challenging. A minor stumble can result in a fall with catastrophic consequences for a senior citizen. That quick memory we took for granted all these years suddenly evades us. It is easy to get caught up in what we have lost and forget about all that we have.

[See The 10 Sunniest Places to Retire.]

Although not everything is rosy, if we pause for a moment we may discover that we have much to be thankful for. Here are some of the positive aspects of growing older:

Watching our children grow up. Over the years we have witnessed our sons and daughters growing from bundles of uncontrollable frenetic energy into the adults they are today. We have supported, encouraged, prayed for, laid awake at night worrying about, cried with, laughed with, and grown together along the way. Through it all, we have loved them and ultimately received their love in return. It has taken years to get here, but we are fortunate to have had those years and should be thankful.

[See 7 Misconceptions About Retired Life.]

Gaining wisdom with the years. When we think of youth we tend to think of people who are distracted, immature, impatient, temperamental, and quick to anger. Having attained a more seasoned age, we are generally more secure in the person we have become. Many people have become more patient with others, tolerant in uncomfortable situations, able to take the good with the bad, and appreciative of each day and moment we live. This wisdom is acquired through life experiences and only comes with age. It is rarely an easy path, but if we are learning at each step along the way it can be a productive journey.

Perfecting our relationship with our spouse. In retirement, there is no one we will spend more time with than our significant other. No one knows us better and no one loves us more. After years together we have become attuned to subtleties that others are blind to. We know where we can go during an argument and where we dare not tread. Ultimately our personal happiness becomes a reflection of the happiness we see in our spouse. This sharing of passions and fears is made stronger over years spent together. And with regular effort on both sides the relationship deepens and brings us happiness that is often the envy of those around us. I see this every time I spend time with my parents.

[See Why Baby Boomers Will Have a Great Retirement.]

It is not always easy to be a senior citizen. But with a little reflection, we should be able to find moments and memories that make our life meaningful. We accumulate these experiences over the years and appreciate them along the way. And if we are wise we remain thankful and hopeful for more of the same.

Dave Bernard is not yet retired but has begun his due diligence to plan for a satisfying retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.