The Benefits of Midlife
In our youth-obsessed culture, a lot is written about the danger and negative effects of aging.Â But recently, Baby Boomer Magazine Online published a list of qualities and abilities that Baby Boomers develop as they age that many would consider to be improvements!Â These include:
A superior perception of reality
Less interest in material things
More interest in having experiences
Increased acceptance of self
Higher capacity for humor
Increased appreciation for friendships
Increased desire to do for others
Increased sense of fair play and fairness
Changes in their value systems
Although this research was done to find out how best to sell to Baby Boomers, it is interesting to see how true it is in your case.Â Ask yourself how much of the above is true for you, and celebrate these developments. For me all of the above is true, and I am very grateful to experience these wonderful changes.
If you are a Baby Boomer who is consciously growing in maturity, you might have become more accepting of yourself, less critical of your shortcomings and therefore of the shortcomings of others, and more forgiving.
Since you are less interested in acquiring things for status, you have more time to think higher thoughts and see reality more clearly.Â You understand on a deeper level that time with family and friends is more important than material wealth, and are more likely to give them priority than before. You understand that what enriches your life are experiences of love, joy and beauty. Your appreciation of nature and art has skyrocketed. You might find yourself wanting to experience a new type of dancing style, new activities, traveling to exotic places, making love in new ways and in different places.
Since you have become wiser you can take yourself more lightly and your sense of humor has increased. I believe that once you can laugh at something that to your logical brain seems contradictory, you have integrated the duality and therefore you are more enlightened than before.Â Laughing is good for you.Â It makes people happier, strengthens your immune system, and helps you also heal faster when you get sick.Â I remember how impressed I was reading about Norman Cousins, who shocked everyone in the hospital by healing 50% faster than any other because he was watching funny movies and made incredible funny jokes with the nurses.
You have probably noticed how it is easier to be spontaneous now than when you were trying to appear â¬Ëmature' and therefore were afraid of appearing childish.Â Wise people hold spontaneity in high regard. Lao Tzu, one of the greatest Chinese philosophers as well as the founder of Taoism, said, â¬ÅThe Tao's principle is simply spontaneity. Spontaneity is the key to healthy longevity. Spontaneity is the natural built-in mechanism in each living organism.Â We had it when we were babies and then we needed to suppress it to â¬Ëmature' and fit in to society. In Midlife we start noticing that spontaneity creates balance and harmony.
As you become free of the fear of criticism you also become more creative.Â You allow yourself to think outside the box more. And your creativity tends to go toward creating value for yourself and others. In fact, Baby Boomers spend more time thinking how they can help people in crisis and how to contribute knowledge to younger people without shoving it down their throat.
Mature Baby Boomers are also more generous with their time.Â You are more able to enjoy helping others without pursuing your private advantage. You are probably experienced enough to see that if you are generous in giving to others your instant advantage is feeling better about yourself. You might start wanting to give more generously of your time to your grandchildren and enjoy a closer relationship with them. You might volunteer your time to worthy causes.
I believe that if we as Baby Boomers focus more on the positive aspects of getting on in years, we actually have our Golden Years in front of us no matter what the economy is doing.Â We are the source of our richness.