Why it’s so much easier to be happy when we’re older

“I’ve experienced many terrible things in my life, a few of which actually happened.” – Mark Twain

Being retired allows so much more time to think. Lately I’ve been watching an old HBO series about people in their 20s and 30s, which serves to remind me how complex relationships used to seem, and how easily happy I am now. It sometimes seems all we hear about are the disadvantages of being older. What about the supreme advantages? What feels good about finally being an elder? Here’s a list of a few of the good things for me:

  1. I’m finally finished “doing” all the things I felt I had to do to be happy, like degrees, jobs and finding healthy relationships.
  2. I have greatly narrowed down who I want to spend my time with.
  3. I’ve stopped my irritating habit of over analyzing every little thing that happens or happened in my past. Analysis paralysis is a thing of the past!
  4. Put most simply: I’m older and smarter! Is that wisdom?

When I think about my life now words like relaxed and yes, mellow come to mind. Sometimes I fall back into my bad habit of what I call “worry shopping”, but then I respond to myself with: “WHO CARES?” Life will continue to be exactly the way it is and I will somehow be OK with that. I find this so liberating and freeing. I find it easier to focus on the good in the world and with some new-found mind discipline, I now generally choose my own thoughts.

I learned years ago: Don’t believe everything you think!

Our minds are such amazing tools for good or evil. As a young person in my 20s I was far too self-centered, oversensitive, over analytical, and completely self-conscious. So glad to be far past all of that! Yes, I am still thoughtful and caring, but I now fully accept all that I do not control, especially when it comes to other people and their opinions of me. I know myself better than anyone else and I feel good about that.

These days, this phrase best describes my feelings about my interactions with others:

You cannot control how other people receive your energy. Anything you do or say gets filtered through the lens of whatever they are going through at the moment, which is NOT ABOUT YOU.

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