I discovered a great blog called Barking Up The Wrong Tree. The blogger who runs it, Eric Barker (haha get it? Barker?), focuses on ways to improve our lives and shows you research and studies that show what works best. Last week’s post hit me in the right spot and I wanted to share his tips on being happier: focusing on the good. He says, “You know why older people are happier? Research shows as we age we remember the good and forget the bad: …older people shown pictures of faces or
situations tend to focus on and remember the happier ones more and the negative ones less. Yeah, that’s all it takes. So if you could just regularly get reminders of the good things in your life, well, you’d be halfway there…” This fits into today’s topic of whether or not age matters. As my loyal Facebook followers might know, April 1 was my birthday, and brought me just a little closer to thirty. This year, instead of freaking out on my birthday, I tried to focus on all the great things I have going for me. I have incredible friends and family who support me, but also love me enough to tell me when I’m wrong, read my blog and offer me tips, and read my incessant texts, emails and telepathy love letters. I also made sure that I did my favorite things on that day, and spent it with the people that make me the happiest, but without making it all about me or making a big deal out of it. And I think now that I’m a little older, just the teensiest bit wiser (although by no means wise), I’ve started to see that aging is neither good nor bad. It happens, and we’ve got to accept what comes with it as real (instead of fighting wrinkles with botox, or proclaiming to the world how wise our white hairs have made us).
So let’s get real. Your brain doesn’t work quite as well after age 24 – yes, you read that right, TWENTY FOUR. “Apparently our cognitive motor skills — meaning the speed at which we process something and then react to it — peak by age 24, then begin to diminish slowly.” Now before you start freaking out or cursing Hermione for stealing your time machine, there’s also good news: you’re more experienced and have better strategy to deal with the decrease in your motor skills. So if you’re under 24, be grateful that you’re at the top of your game and make the most of it. Appreciate it, but realize that you need to earn it to
keep it. For activities that you’d like to keep up as you get older, just put the time in now so that by the time your motor skills start to decrease, you’ve got enough experience under your belt to be at the top of your game in other ways. Another article simply suggested that we shouldn’t focus so much on aging, and more on just enjoying where we are in life. It’s natural to age, and it’s a good thing to grow and mature. One sweet post highlights this: “Although we may not associate the word “aging” with “happy,” these three sisters, Rubye Cox, Ruth Branum, and Rose Shloss disagree. All three over one hundred years old are happy, and grateful for their long, fulfilling lives. One of them shares, “My motto in life has been, ‘I would rather wear out than rust out.’ ” “ How true! One of my friends’ moms likes to tell her not to smile too much because she’ll get more wrinkles. How silly! Smile now and see those wrinkles as coming from your happiest moments, when you couldn’t stop grinning! Positivity will keep your heart active and young. Not smiling will just make you sour and less likely to make new friends. “We are so focused on staying young, looking young, and feeling young, that we end up missing out on life.” So for now, I am going to enjoy all the moments in my mid twenties and not worry too much about turning 30. Besides, apparently being 30 is better than being 20. http://hellogiggles.com/13-reasons-30-new-20 So far, I feel it. Each year I grow up, I feel more at peace with my own identity and know what makes me happy (i.e. to listen to Capital Cities when I’m feeling blue – watch their sweet dance video if you want to be happier). And come to terms with the fact that my life is going against the grain. Via Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being: “Write down three things that went well today and why they went well…Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier. The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.” Try this and let me know… does this make you happier?
How do you feel around birthdays? What really matters when you age? Did you wish somebody a Very Happy Unbirthday today?
Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. Please help me keep this a positive forum, though. I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please. I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts. Thanks in advance!
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