Getting older is getting easier. Healthier lifestyles, improved care and lower stress levels mean older adults can raise their game later in life.
An article published last year in the Huffington Post cited a string of studies, articles and general societal shifts that all make the same observation: Aging need not be an ominous endeavor.
For starters, aging isn’t as lonely as it was a couple decades ago. There are more people leading active lives into their 80s and 90s today, which means that they can enjoy the company of their peers as they reach these milestones together. Between 2000 and 2050, the number of people 80 or older is expected to quadruple. More children will know their grandparents and even their great-grandparents.
These are all factors in our increased happiness as we age, too. A recent study reports that people are happiest in their youth and again in their 70s and 80s. Why? Some experts believe it is because older people are able to tap into social and emotional instincts they’ve built with experience. “It’s a very encouraging fact that we can expect to be happier in our early 80s than we were in our 20s,” Andrew J. Oswald, a professor of psychology at Warwick Business School, told the New York Times.
And these emotional instincts contribute to sharper mental acuity than you had just a few decades earlier. A University of Illinois study found that older air traffic controllers excelled at their challenging jobs—and performed as well as younger peers—because they were so good at navigation and at handling several airplanes at once. They were able to overcome any weaknesses by tapping into their wealth of experience.
All around the world, life expectancies are rising and, more importantly, quality of life metrics are trending right along in developed nations. This means that your best years could very well be ahead of you, as we all strive to age with grace.