Aging brings about a lot of changes – physical, mental, emotional, familial. We must continue to care for our mental health even in our old age, and one way we can do this is by recognizing all of the positive aspects of aging.
Getting older can feel uncomfortable at times, but this next phase in life can also bring about exciting changes that are ultimately beneficial to mental health:
Unlimited vacation time, anyone?
The days of requesting time off and calculating your vacation balance are over. You can go on vacation wherever you want, whenever you want, and you can bring along family members for the ride.
No more changing diapers or hurrying to school drop-offs
If you are a parent, you will likely always worry about your child, no matter their age. Early parenthood in particular, though, brings about its own unique set of challenges. You have to anticipate your child’s needs, tend to domestic responsibilities, and manage the schedules of everyone in your household, all while running on a few hours of sleep. As you get older, your children will become more self-sufficient and you will find yourself with much more time to yourself – as well as a healthy sleep schedule.
You’ve found your people
It takes time to make connections with folks, and it can take years to cultivate your core group of friends. As you get older, it’s easier to discern who you have the most in common with, who is making an effort to be in your life, and who you see yourself being friends with for years to come.
There are also more opportunities to make new friends
As you reduce your hours at work or fully embrace your retirement, you will find yourself with more and more free time during the day. This provides the perfect opportunity to meet and regularly spend time with new people while engaging in your hobbies. Golf courses, book clubs, knitting circles and local service clubs in your community are all excellent venues for making new friends.
More time for hobbies
During our working years, the majority of our daylight hours are occupied, five days out of the week. Retirement is the perfect time to take up woodworking, set a standing tennis date with a friend, or sew tiny outfits for your grandchildren-to-be.
Financial security, or less stress around money
At this age, you likely have a pension or a retirement account that you are able to support yourself on. You may also be driving less often, buying groceries for fewer people, and perhaps even downsizing your home. With fewer expenses and a stable income, you’ll experience less worry about your finances.
Ability to travel
Your prime years are still ahead of you, and they can and should be spent seeing the world. You no longer have to worry about planning trips around your kids’ school schedules or interests, and you likely have much more disposable income now. Grab your partner or a group of close friends and go on that dream vacation you’ve always talked about.
Rush hour traffic is a thing of the past
Sitting in traffic day in and day out can take a significant physical and psychological toll. Once you’ve retired, it will be much easier to stay off the road during peak hours. You can also run errands during the day while everyone else is at work; getting older means never having to fight the after-work crowd at the grocery store before rushing home to make dinner.
Help raise grandchildren
Grandchildren are a blessing, and it’s beautiful to see your children grow into becoming parents themselves. That said, you’ve already raised your kids and have done the hard part. The best part about being a grandparent is being able to spoil them, do fun and engaging activities with them, and then send them home to mom and dad at the end of the day.
The appearance of wisdom
Not only do we feel we get wiser as we get older, but other people also begin to believe in our wisdom – we hold these truths to be self-evident. Friends, family members, and colleagues in generations younger than you will likely go to you more often for help and advice with kids, marriage challenges, and work stresses. Cherish this.
The evolving relationship with your children
At a certain point in your life as a parent, there will be a shift. It may be gradual or it may be all at once, but your kids will begin to take care of you. Even better – they will begin to spoil you and see you as a friend. There are few greater pleasures in life than your adult children coming over with ice cream “just because,” or video calling you once a day just to chat. As you both mature, you’ll have more in common than you would expect.
Silver Ridge Recovery takes a holistic approach to mental health, promoting a mind, body, and spirit perspective when nourishing recovery and mental health. Call today at (855)-945-7788 to discuss aging and mental health with a licensed professional.