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Don't regret growing older

June 25, 2010|By BARTON GOLDSMITH

I saw a sign at Knott's Berry Farm when I was a teenager that read, "Don't regret growing older. There are few people who have that privilege." I have always remembered it and kept it as part of my value system. It helps me enjoy my time on the planet with very few regrets and also gives me a confident attitude about the future.

If you don't like your age, that negativity will trickle down into other areas of your life and chip away at your self-esteem. Look, you are who you are, and you are the age you are, period. Accepting who you are, along with how old you are, is the only way to have a fulfilled life. If you mourn for your youth, then you won't get to experience the calm that can come with experience or enjoy the wisdom that accompanies age.

James Taylor once sang, "The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time," and I couldn't agree more. I'm sure there's more than one secret, but this one is a goody. If you can't love each day and squeeze as much out of it as you are able, then you will go to sleep with regrets and wake up with anxiety. Trusting that you are in the right place, at the right age, with the right people, will give you more joy and satisfaction than a roomful of self-help CDs.

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I don't want to be a dysfunctional old man. I want a "good enough" quality of life. I know that life is never perfect and I hate being disappointed, so I like to keep my expectations reasonable. No doubt I will have a few physical issues, and they may slow me down, but I won't let them stop me. Besides, isn't slowing down the best way to see the world around you?

The truth is that no one gets out of here alive, and you just have to choose to make the best of where you are right now. If you don't, the joy you could be feeling will turn into coulda-woulda-shouldas, and you will be emotionally uncomfortable, no matter your age.

Be who you are and what you are. I love seeing men wear T-shirts that say things like "Old Guys Rule!" Not only are the dudes sporting them taking life with a grain of salt, saying, "I may be older, but I don't act like it," but they have the sense of humor necessary to get them out of bed every day.

I know many people whose lives, loves and careers didn't begin until they were in their 50s, and they are getting way more out of the second half of life. Please know that, with just a tiny attitude shift, you could also be that kind of person.

Think about it.

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