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10 Reasons Why Getting Older Rocks

With every birthday, you’re becoming a better version of yourself.

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Getting Older, aging, aarp, sisters
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When the topic of getting older comes up in my circle of girlfriends, the default is to focus on the negative: We commiserate with each other about our hot flashes, hormone-induced mood swings and waistlines that somehow keep thickening, no matter how carefully we watch them. But what we overlook amid all the justified bellyaching about breakouts and brain fog are the valuable gifts that birthdays can bring.

From increased confidence and a better sense of self, to the realization that other people’s opinions don’t matter nearly as much as we thought, midlife (and beyond) presents us with more than just menopause and a slower metabolism. Turns out there’s a lot to love about getting older. Proof? The testimonies of these women — all living their best lives at ages 40 through 79 — who rave about the advantages of aging and wouldn’t trade their years for all the wrinkle cream in the world.

You realize you’re amazing, as is.
When you're younger, you tend to be more easily influenced by the opinions of your friends and family. That influence can cause you to feign interest in things you're not really drawn to or shy away from things in which you have a natural interest. But the older I've gotten, the more I've leaned into the idea that my opinion is enough. I say all the time, “Not everything is for everybody.” It means that I don't have to be into everything my friends are into and vice versa. I no longer feel I have to adapt myself, smooth my edges or tone down my quirkier side to make myself palatable. Turn down for what?! I’m not to everyone's taste and that's OK. I'm a specialty blend, handcrafted by these years and my experiences. The opinions of others are neither required nor requested. – Sharon R. Boone, 53

You know what’s really important.
I’m wiser. And that wisdom allows me to let go of stuff much quicker than when I was younger. This leaves me with time to focus on the things that mean the most to me: my spirituality, my health and enjoying my life. – Vanessa Haskins, 50

You learn to put yourself first.
So far, my 40s have really been a revelation. I no longer care about societal norms, what I’m supposed to have, how I'm supposed to dress or why I'm not doing what everyone expects me to do. I started traveling solo and not waiting around for others to want to go where I want to go. I'm halfway into my 40s now and life is only getting better! I’m putting me first. – Riselle Celestina, 44

You recognize your resilience.
When you've lived some life and you’ve overcome the challenges thrown your way, you begin to embrace how much of a warrior you are. And when new challenges crop up, you can look back on the old ones and say, “OK, if I survived that, I can survive this too.” As you get older, you really do build up a resume of strength and resilience. – Janelle Harris, 40

You regain your freedom.
I’m recently retired and I can say that it’s wonderful not to have to operate under anyone’s schedule but my own. Now I do what I want to do, when I want to do it! And there’s so much I look forward to doing with the rest of my life. When my children left home, taking care of myself became my priority. And now I’m fit and healthy enough to really enjoy this wonderful time and all its new horizons. – Martica Rocheford, 65

Your confidence soars.
The thing I enjoy most about getting older is that I have more confidence. I speak my mind, and although I don't look forward to having hard conversations with friends, family or my spouse, I'd rather clear the air than suffer in silence and let my hurt feelings and anger fester. I'm also more outspoken where my health and finances are concerned. I ask the doctors to explain exactly what they mean when it comes to my test results and proposed medical procedures, and I always get a second (or sometimes third) opinion. And when it comes to money matters, I'm no longer afraid to ask for an increased rate from my longtime clients. Remember, if you don't ask, you don't get! – Tracy Hopkins, 49

You realize it’s never too late to get fit.
I got into fitness and started eating clean-ish in my 40s, entered a bodybuilding competition at 50 and I haven’t looked back since. I wish I had this confidence in my 20s and 30s — the things I could have done! Fitness has become a passion of mine and it’s had an umbrella effect on my entire life: my confidence, poise and mental and physical strength. I’ve never felt this good before, not even in my 20s! – Jeanine Tribley, 52

You can say no.
When I was younger, if someone asked me to do something, I was afraid to say no. I thought they’d feel badly toward me. But now I’m at an age when I feel I can pick and choose what I do, and I’ve learned to stop and think before automatically saying yes. Now that I’m in my 60s, I’m not that concerned anymore about what people think. Take me as you find me. No is a complete sentence, and I’m learning to simply smile and say it! – Kathleen Reah, 67

You rediscover yourself.
When you become an empty nester and no longer have the daily responsibilities of being a parent, you realize that the world is your oyster. There are so many new possibilities! It’s a bit daunting, but now I have the freedom to dig deeper, to connect with parts of myself that were either forgotten or are still unknown. I’m inspired by my now-adult daughter and I’m using everything I’ve learned so far to help me find a new life path. My 50s are both scary and thrilling, but this truly feels like my time. – Sophia Davis, 53

You don’t sweat the small stuff.
As I’ve aged, I’ve become more tolerant because I’m better able to put myself in someone else’s shoes and see their point of view. I’m also less critical because now I accept people and situations for what they are and realize that there are some things I simply cannot control. Some people suffer fools less as they get older, but I’ve definitely become more mellow. – Peta Gabbadon, 79