Growing older, happily

Thanks to Facebook, it’s easy to keep track of friends’ birthdays. It’s also possible to follow people’s own reactions to their birthdays, age and how they perceive growing older.

It’s quite interesting how many of my friends, in their thank you for the birthday greetings – posts, “joke” about turning 21 again. That’s seems to be a magical year, – the new sweet sixteen in a way. The younger friends of mine are now getting towards their 30th, which is another turning point in the lives of so many. Feared one, mostly.

Why is it so difficult for people to feel content with their age and not dream of being “young” again? Do people really have such golden memories from their teen years or early twenties, that it’s worth looking back in awe and wishing to get back to it? And is all that looking back or fear of growing old holding people back from enjoying their current state in life and getting excited about the future? Or is it just fear of getting older, or life being over, of best times having gone past? Fear of losing looks, or having to fit into certain age norms and behaviour?

In addition to the life experiences, education, likely higher level of “wealth” etc, most people I know, look better in their 30s and 40s than they did in their teens. The maturity, life experiences, confidence in oneself, improve the appearance of a person. Sure it’s a matter of taste, and this is mine. To me it’s very attractive to be able to see a person has lived their life. Teen looks are not interesting to me. Teens are still looking to define who they are, who they want to be – as it should be – and hence lacking the depth which raises my curiosity and interest on the person.

I wouldn’t want to be 21 again, and by no means do I want to get back to my teen years. Not even if I were allowed to keep the wisdom and “wealth” I’ve since gained. I appreciate and value years – the experiences, maturity, changes they bring along. I’m turning 35 this year which I find amazing – a great age, at which I feel young and mature at the same time. I have lived through many different phases in life and the many ups and downs have helped me get to where I am now, and who I am now. The years, and the whole growing up process, has also made me confident that the future has always something more, something interesting and exciting to offer.

I’m keen to get older, as I feel the future has so much to offer. I’m even more keen to live my life in the moment, appreciating the long way I’ve come to get to today,  tightly holding on to the great memories and trying to derive learning experiences out of the less pleasant times. 16 and 21 offered some great times to me but I would not go back even if it was possible. I am looking forward to my 35th though, as I’m interested in knowing what that year will bring along with it.

Fun never needs to be over – the great thing is that growing older, earning an income, being independent, allows for many more opportunities for realizing our dreams. Past is past, enjoying the moment, I’m looking forward to the future. Cheers, to the good old times and cheers, to the good times to come!


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Outi Annala

A sustainability-enthusiast with a master's degree in social sciences and experienced working for public and private sectors and for an international Non-profit organization. Writing about life and all that matters in living a life to the fullest. Passionate about engaging the private sector to the development work, promoting partnerships between companies and non-profit organizations and initiating discussion and debates. Excited about life and living it to the fullest.

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