6 ageist cliches we'll happily embrace

Ageism might bring to mind negative stereotypes about growing older, but what if we focused on the brighter side of the coin? Let's explore the ageist cliches that are surprisingly positive and celebrate the unique qualities and experiences that come with the passage of time, writes Carolyn Tate.

By Carolyn Tate

With each new year in your life, there’s so much to look forward to and get excited about. While ageism might bring to mind negative stereotypes and misconceptions about growing older, it's worth exploring the flip side of that coin—the ageist cliches that are actually surprisingly positive.

These stereotypes not only challenge our preconceived notions about ageing but also celebrate the remarkable qualities and experiences that come with each passing year.

Let’s take a look at some of these perspectives, and remind ourselves of the silver linings of getting older, and how they can inspire us to live our best lives, regardless of our age.

1. You have wisdom and experience

There's a reason that older people are often considered wise. It’s true that life is the best teacher, and with a good chunk of it under your belt, you’ve probably got wisdom in spades.

A study by the Agewell Research & Advocacy Centre found that “reaching an old[er] age increases the chances of acquiring the life experience and emotional maturity that nurture wisdom.” This research shows that the wisdom accumulated with age helps shape our view of the world in the healthiest of ways.

2. Being a grandparent is all care, no responsibility

This is a time for you to truly enjoy and be present with your grandkids like you couldn't with your children. No need to think about a nutritionally balanced dinner or whether the laundry is up to date. Being a grandparent means living in the moment and building a special bond with your tiny human.

Many grandparents love spending time with their grandkids without the pressure of parenting.

Spending time with grandkids positively impacts grandparents' mental health. And bonus: research from Australia and Europe found that grandparents who are actively involved in their grandchildren’s lives lived about 5 years longer than those who don’t.

Whether your little people live three blocks down the street and you go for regular ice cream dates together, or they live on the other side of the world - what’s great is that technology connects us all, so you can still jump on a video call and get your dose of happy hormones.

Just remember to know when stepping in is over-stepping.

3. You don’t sweat the small stuff

Remember a time in your life when you used to worry over every tiny details or how things would work out? Equipped with more experience, you can enjoy a healthier perspective on the world.

A 2021 National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing  found that older Australians have significantly lower stress levels than younger age groups.

Your age brings life experience, better coping skills and a more relaxed attitude so you can focus on all the positives in your life.

4. You have stories for every occasion

Your life journey is unique to you. With time, we all accumulate experiences - the ones worth sharing will make ears spring up whenever you tell your story.

Walk into any library or bookstore, and you’ll see an entire book section dedicated to sharing life stories. Many newspapers, TV programs and magazines also feature fascinating stories of older people.

Isn’t it remarkable that you can now share these golden nuggets with the people that matter most to you?

5. How great is a nap?!

Need we say more? It’s glorious having the time to lie down for a relaxing snooze on a Monday afternoon while the rest of the world is busy at the office. Nothing beats waking up feeling so refreshed and reinvigorated that you question whether you just took a nap or a Sicilian vacation.

There’s a reason for that. According to Australian sleep expert Dr Shantha Rajaratnam, having a daytime nap can help improve alertness and cognitive function.

This is one stereotype we are 100% proud to embrace!

6. You don’t care what anybody else thinks

Caring about what someone else thinks is a heavy load to carry. But with time, we learn that the only person we need to be accountable to is ourselves. What a weight off the shoulders!

The Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing examines the connection between self-esteem and ageing. It found that, compared to younger Aussies, older Australians often report a more consistent and even higher sense of self-esteem.

Embracing who you are and permitting yourself to ‘just be’ can be one of the most liberating parts of growing older.

With age comes so many positive experiences. As long as we take care of our bodies and minds, these years can be our best ones yet.

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