How to Accept Growing Old

24 May, 2016

Every stage of life is marked by different evolutionary aspects, such as the innocence of childhood, the spontaneity of youth and the maturity of adulthood. However, when life brings us closer to old age, sometimes we have trouble valuing, accepting and enjoying this final stage of life.

Old age is marked by physical and mental deterioration that we at times don’t accept. This generates conflicts and  difficulties in our adaptation to new life circumstances. But still, we must try to enjoy each one of our stages, without leaving out this last one.

“We all wish to reach old age, and we all deny we’ve reached it.”

Evolutionary stages

As we were saying, each evolutionary stage has its own characteristics, which we tend to accept and evolve with, without too many emotional conflicts. This process is important: in order to reach the next stage in life, we necessarily have to live the previous one.

It’s all about learning to value the fact that we never stop being kids, youngsters nor adults. Rather, every stage and its lessons accompany us throughout our whole existence; it’s the luggage we have to carry on our journey forward.

“The maturity of man is to have regained the serenity with which we played when we were kids.”
Frederich Nietzsche 


two people in a spiral

Passing to the next stage 

It’s sort of like specializing in a skilled occupation, in which we undergo different types of training and experience, as well as the practical performance of the profession of each of the levels we acquire.

Likewise, we pass through every stage of life, specializing further each time. Obtaining more wisdom, and therefore modifying our tasks and development of activities depending on our age.

We could say that with more experience, the work becomes easier, calmer, more relaxed… leaving way for those who are just starting their lives and are dedicated to the toughest and most difficult jobs. This is necessary for them to learn and obtain the degree of specialist, just like their predecessors obtained it before them.

“Growing old is like hiking a great mountain. While you climb, your strength grows weak, put the gaze is more free, the view more clear and serene.”
-Ingmar Bergman-

Growing old is a symbol of wisdom 

Without a doubt, growing old adds experiences and lessons to life. You’ll come to have the wisdom that’s so valuable in older people in our society. And this wisdom in turn is a treasure to the younger folk. Those who are starting to live their lives, without experiences and needing support and advice.

Growing old, in any stage you might be in, always was and will always be a gift of experience and education for the people around us of younger age.

Accepting old age

Biologically, we start deteriorating from the age of 22. Our cells will no longer keep growing and developing. The deterioration will start, which we note as years pass. We’ll note the passing of the years, since it’s a slow evolution and a great deal of it depends on the treatment and care we give ourselves.

This means that we’re deteriorating or maturing for more than half of our lives. We’re learning from previous stages and challenges in which we’ve overcome or failed. If we accept this, we’ll discover that our biology prepares us during each stage for what we need from it. And certainly, our activities during our childhood aren’t the same as those of our adulthood, and our ability to work isn’t the same in our old age.

“The oldest trees give the sweetest fruits.”
-German Proverb-
grandmother and butterflies

What does accepting the years truly mean? 

We could say that growing old makes us live life differently. Every year, it’s a maturation, greater lessons have been assimilated, we have different projections for our futures, and new challenges. And this is precisely what we need to accept.

Maybe it was easy for us to accept that we couldn’t maintain our innocence and lack of responsibility as we transitioned from adolescents to adults. Likewise, we have to accept that we don’t need to work  in our old age like we did previously. We don’t have to maintain our old activities or keep up the same pace.

What should we expect from old age? 

As we’ve said, wisdom is the fundamental benefit of old age. And when the body is asking for rest, a break, and care, the right thing to do is provide it. And if our mind is no longer as active, it means that we shouldn’t expect the same from ourselves as in the previous stages.

Accepting the years means we should keep exercising our mental and physical activities, within our capabilities. Try to keep the best possible well-being and health, enjoying every present moment.

Accepting the years means we should give way to new upcoming generations, allowing others to help care for and protect us. We should accept the limitations of our wise bodies and minds, that naturally desire to transmit and express our knowledge so others may make use of it.

Accepting the years of our elders is to be thankful for their wisdom, to listen and take care of and respect them, in order to learn from their experiences. And thus, be happier and live better every day.