At eighty I believe I am a far more cheerful person than I was at twenty or thirty. I most definitely would not want to be a teenager again. Youth may be glorious but it is also painful to endure. Moreover, what is called youth is not youth; it is rather something like premature old age.
-Writer Henry Miller
I am not yet eighty but I am a long way from twenty or thirty. I don’t know if I am happier in my sixties than I was in my twenties or thirties. I have always found happiness elusive. Usually the best I can do is to feel reasonably content. I can say one thing with a fair amount of certainty. I would rather be sixty than twenty. Looking back there were too many parts of my life I found difficult and I would not like to relive them. In my current age I feel a sense of relief that many of life’s challenges are behind me.
Daily life is still challenging and I don’t know what lies ahead but in general I am more relaxed and more comfortable in my own skin. When one gets older you think more and more about less and less. You have a greater appreciation for life’s simple joys and it doesn’t take much to make you happy. You are past the stage where you want to build an empire and many older people would rather have less. A simple life has great appeal. Perhaps it is in this simplicity, when you spend more time letting go than gathering, that people find the greatest happiness.
Occasionally I do wish I had my sixty five year old life experience and wisdom in a twenty year old body. However, that might be a dangerous combination. You cannot experience old age without doing time as a young person. In all fairness, every stage of life has it’s joys and sorrows, it’s challenges and rewards, and it’s pros and cons. If you are lucky you will experience them all. Some of us have old souls when we are young while others are young at heart in bodies that are falling apart. Happiness and age are in the mind and in our attitudes.
As I once said in a previous daily thought, “When we are young our bodies drag our minds around and when we are old our minds drag our bodies around”. Think about it. If you are young I advise you to live well now while you still have the energy and the stamina.