The Unrealized Benefits of Maturity

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The Unrealized Benefits of Maturity

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Aging brings a generosity of spirit and often yields a greater self-mastery of emotions and attitudes along with a deeper appreciation for the complexity of life. It encourages the forgiveness of former enemies. It abets the sharing of thoughts by letters, sayings and jokes—all things that help lift up other people.

The elderly normally have greater self-control, partly because they no longer need to protect some inflexible position. After all, what's the most anyone can do to you? Fire you when you're already retired? You have the comfortable feeling of no longer being pushed around by fashion or peer pressure.

A settled confidence comes from experience. You may feel freer to try things you wouldn't attempt earlier, because now you have less to lose. A directness, an uninhibited expression about what you really think, ushers in a stage of life in which you know most about yourself and how better to relate to other people.

You are practiced; you know how things work. You can enjoy greater composure, a lessening of highs and lows. You may sense an exuberance, but less depression. Maturity brings a sense of being in control of your life.

You feel an inner peace from the acceptance of life. You can look back on your accomplishments with some satisfaction—perhaps a greater calm about what you didn't achieve. From middle age and onward, your place on the career ladder is most likely high enough. Men gain a clearer view of the need to show affection to their wives and children. They better appreciate how much their spouses contributed to their children's upbringing while they themselves were too often preoccupied with a career. Being a grandparent also helps keep one young.

Romantic love can blossom and mature for older people. What does a wife most want from her husband in her 60s, 70s and beyond? She longs for the same wants, needs, tenderness and warmth she desired when she was younger. This is the beauty of committed love from a lifelong devotion. A long partnership of love that faces good and bad times means a husband and wife are real friends, confidants and allies. Committed love over the years yields the highest return on this faithful investment. It becomes a marriage of advanced maturity. GN