“My mother always used to say, ‘The older you get, the better you get. Unless you’re a banana.'” – Betty White
I sat back, quietly observing my friends on a Zoom meeting make fun of their bodies and thought processes now that they’re older. I don’t engage in these conversations anymore. I also don’t want to be a know-it-all, but I am super opinionated about how our society views aging and the process of getting older.
We are inundated with messages from the media, the medical system, and maybe even our community, that being older is a problem to be managed. We also might give ourselves a hard time about the mistakes we made or the way people treated us in the past, indicating that we are broken. Between the messages from society and the messages that we give ourselves, we could easily feel stuck, unhappy and decline as we get older.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, these messages about getting older haunt our waking hours and dreams. And I want you to know that you have nothing to fear and worry about because the older you get, the better you get. Here’s the proof:
5 Signs That the Older You Get the Better You Get
1. Your body gets real clear about what it needs as you get older
That is a sign of a well-tuned body. A sign that your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain that registers thoughts like: my heart tells me…, my gut tells me…, that person is a pain in my neck is working well.
This attunement is a positive attribute of knowing ourselves.
The downside is that your body is also demanding that you take better care of it. A little more time, a little more healthy food and water, and a little more conscious relaxation… All of these things will go a long way to nourishing the relationship between your body and your mind.
Listening to what your body tells you is a step toward more attunement into your intuition.
2. The older you get, the stronger your intuition is
We have had YEARS of observing what happened when we followed our intuition and when we didn’t. The first half of our life was like a research project. We have been there, done that – maybe more times than we care to think about. We have also been cursed/blessed with hindsight.
We understand, on an experiential level, the nature of consequences – known as karma. We have mastery that we can draw from. If we let ourselves quiet down, get past the messages of what we should do, we can find this sharply tuned intuition and let it guide us.
Intuition is another executive function of our prefrontal cortex, along with compassion and understanding.
3. As you get older, it becomes easier to be understanding
In the second half of life, we have a little window into everyone’s life. We now know that everyone has something to deal with: even the people with a lot of money, the people with superhero bodies, the people with all their kids living in the same town.
Yep, this life wasn’t meant to be perfect. It was meant to be lived in all its beauty and messiness.
Our understanding is that we are all basically in the same boat. We were born into an imperfect body, and it isn’t meant to last. The people around us try their best to love us, but they fall short – as we do for them.
We are destined to make mistakes that affect other people.
So when that person who promised to be there for us, serve us food, or fix our plumbing falls short, we are understanding. We understand. Along with understanding, we also have boundaries to keep ourselves safe and well.
4. You only have time for truth and authenticity
Knowing the odds that our last day is closer than yesterday gives us a sense of urgency in the second half of life. We know that we were born with gifts and talents that need to be expressed. We have to have boundaries for anyone or anything that isn’t part of Truth.
Our authentic cooking, teaching, creating, loving, knowledge, tenderness, core values are who we are. We aren’t going to put up with anything that gets in the way of expressing our truth or anyone else’s.
If we have been putting up with someone holding us down, we are now over that. We are very clear about our boundaries. We hear the Santana lyric, “Make it real or just forget about it.” We have also discovered that being authentic is being in the present moment.
5. Sitting down and exhaling is a luxury moment
As we get older, we know that the best moments are in the here and now. Those Zen moments that our younger self worked so hard to maintain. Yes, we might be able to throw money at a situation to make it enjoyable, but we aren’t interested if it is full of drama.
Luxury moments are way different than sitting around anesthetizing ourselves with media and other mind-numbing addictions. Luxury moments are the pure ecstasy of calm.
Maybe we take the laugh of a baby, the twinkle in our beloved’s eye, the first song of the first songbird on a perfect spring day, and we let the beauty of it become absorbed deep in our hearts. This is what luxury is to us now.
The truth is that the older you get, the better you get. And I want to have conversations with you about how much better it is now that we are older. Yes, we might need to learn a few new skills to take better care of our older bodies.
That is the easy part.