30 ways life gets better with age

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Many people may shudder at the thought of getting older, with worries of slowing down, thinking about how their health will be affected and just the general fear of the unknown. While all of those concerns are valid, there are also some truly wonderful aspects to aging that can - and should - be embraced.

From how it will impact your important relationships to those hard-earned early-bird discounts, here are 30 ways that life gets better with age.

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Your self-esteem is on the rise

You have spent decades coming in to your own, and it shows. Analysis published by the Psychological Bulletin suggests that your self-esteem peaks between 60 and 70 years old.

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You give the best advice

Who do you think someone would rather get advice from: someone who doesn't have much life experience, or someone who has said "been there, done that" more times than anyone can count? Generally speaking, people look for advice from their parents and grandparents, and the loved ones in your life will too. Whether or not you feel like it, you do have tons of knowledge in your arsenal, from kitchen hacks to how to make a marriage last.

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Your children become your friends

As your child gets older, you'll get to enjoy the more adult aspects of your relationship like deeper conversation, and you'll develop a friendship and a potentially better parent-child relationship. It's not that you'll ever stop being a teacher and a resource to them, but now they can help return the favor through their own life experiences. 

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You're still getting smarter

There is the perception that memory and brainpower start to deplete when you get older, but there are some brain functions that are in fact still growing. According to a study published in Psychological Science and analyzed by MIT, your ability to read others' emotional states actually peaks in your 40s or 50s. The study also suggested your vocabulary might not peak until your 60s or 70s. 

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You get better at relationships

Friendships certainly change as you get older. As you age, you learn to prioritize those in your life who really matter. You'll keep people around you who have similar values and give you the same amount of attention and affection that you give them and leave toxic people and relationships behind. Curating your friends means you'll get better at relationships and get more out of the ones you have.

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You can cash in on senior discounts

As you get older, more discounts, specials and coupons become available to you. With this perk, it sounds like it actually pays to age. Everything from breakfast at chain restaurants to tickets to movies and museums may come at a discount simply because you're older.

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Grandchildren have their benefits

There are a lot of ways having grandchildren changes your life, including proven mental health benefits. A 2013 study in Taiwan found that caring for grandchildren helped to combat loneliness and depression. However, helping to raise grandchildren isn't a selfish endeavor. A separate study from Oxford found that there are positive effects on grandchildren whose grandparents helped raise them as well. 

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Many big decisions are behind you

There can be a lot of pressure in decision-making in your younger years. As you age, not only do you become more confident, but also many of those big decisions have already been made. What career path you should choose, whether or not you want to have kids and when or where to buy your first house are all decisions you have successfully weathered.

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You get better at displaying gratitude

According to a survey conducted by Berkeley, the 65-and-over crowd is not only the most grateful across the board, but the age group is also the most likely to show gratitude.

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You have time to smell the roses, and you take it

As you age, you will probably achieve a sunnier outlook on life, and that's according to science. Neuroscientists believe that as you age, your brain's response to negative information slows down, leaving you with happier thoughts.The bonus to this is that you'll probably also have the time to appreciate the smaller things since your pace of life will have slowed. 

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You focus more on the positive things

As you age, you also tend to remember more positive than negative experiences. This is known as the age-related "positivity effect." According to researchers, this is in part because as we age, we place higher value on goals related to well-being and our cognitive processes are influenced by those goals. In short, our brain wants us to be happy and content so we focus more on the positive.

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You are among the most honest

Honesty is often considered the best policy, but it turns out we don't get truly honest until we turn 60. So, as you age, you actually grow into this admirable trait.

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You can better appreciate the value of a dollar

Everyone spends a little bit differently, but as you age, you definitely get better at ascribing value to things you've worked hard for. This also comes along with the increase of gratitude.

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The big picture becomes clearer

In a study done by McMaster University and published in Neuron, psychologists concluded that older individuals can understand the big picture better and faster than their counterparts. While they were less able to focus on smaller parts of a whole, it meant that they were able to grasp a fuller picture quicker than their younger counterparts. 

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You're resilient

You're older than you used to be, and that means that you have made it through the trials and tribulations in life and still managed to survive. No life is complete without tragedy and heartbreak, but going through the hard times makes you appreciate the good times more. It also means that when tragedy strikes, you know how to cope, heal and keep on keeping on.

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You have the time to give back

While your 30s, 40s and 50s may be focused on career and family, after retirement, you will have more time to dedicate to causes that have meaning to you. Without that 9-to-5, you'll have more time to volunteer at the animal shelter or help on a local campaign. 

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You have spending power

You've worked hard for your money, and now you're the one marketers are after. It was  estimated by Oxford that in 2015, Americans 50 and over accounted for $7.6 trillion dollars in economic activity. 

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You have honed your style

Fashion rules, shmashion rules. As you age, you see many fads come and go. With each decade, you get more comfortable identifying what you do and don't like in terms of your personal style, and you become more confident with each daring get-up.

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You know who you are

As you go through life, you navigate relationships, you suffer loss, you work hard and you spend time alone. With all of that, you learn more and more about yourself. You know what you're looking for in a partner, you know what makes you smile and you know exactly what you like on your favorite pizza. There is a comfort in confidence.

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You don't take experiences for granted

As you age, time becomes more precious. Those little moments of romance with your partner mean just that much more. You swing by a family member's house just to say hi. You will get better at living in the moment as you age.

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You are only as old as you feel

"Age is just a number" - how many times have you heard that? Well, make it a reality with diet changes, low impact workouts and relaxing retirement vacations, just to name a few things.

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Strong relationships and community keep you young

You know those relationships you worked so hard on growing and the communities you've been a part of all this time? Well, they actually have been keeping you young. A study by Harvard conducted over the course of 80 years showed that people who kept strong relationships lived longer and happier lives, and those with strong social support experienced less mental deterioration as they aged.

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You can more clearly see life through your parents' eyes

You probably always appreciated your parents, but now that you are feeling some of what they have experienced, you have a deeper level of understanding (and most likely gratitude) for them. 

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You might get sick less

Think about all the chicken pox, colds and viruses you experienced throughout the years. According to an article published by UC San Diego Health, people who are older are less likely to catch as many colds because they have already been exposed to, and fought off, so many different illnesses to build up immune responses. 

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You can say goodbye to FOMO

FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is a pesky feeling that can plague people in their younger years. What is everyone doing on a Friday night while you're at home? You don't really care because you've experienced the local bar at closing time, you've danced the night away in your day and you're content going to bed at 9 p.m. after a long week. 

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You know your own impulses and blind spots

You've had plenty of time to get to know yourself, and that means you can also see your flaws upon introspection. You'll be able to look at your impulses and understand your blind spots, which will help you make better decisions in the future. 

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What you lack in fluid intelligence will be made up for with crystallized intelligence

According to a study collected by Science Direct, fluid intelligence is higher in younger people, while crystallized intelligence increases with age. What does this mean, exactly? When you're unable to solve a problem with logic, you will be able to solve it by using the knowledge and experience you've accumulated over the years.

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You can challenge ageist stereotypes

What could be more fun than proving a stereotype wrong? Climb that mountain, run that marathon and go to that hip-hop concert. The experiences will be that much sweeter with jaws on the floor. 

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All that comes, and goes, after menopause

Sorry guys, this perk is just for the ladies. After years of dealing with menstruation, menopause brings a welcome goodbye to monthly visits from Aunt Flow and the PMS and cramps she brings with her. You also don't have to worry about birth control anymore, which is a welcome thought for any woman. However, you should still use condoms to avoid STIs.

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There's more time for new hobbies

As you get older, you'll have more time to pursue your own endeavors. And as your children set off on their own adventures, you'll have plenty of time for adventures of your own as an empty nester.

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