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Reflections September 2019

My Thoughts Today

Let Us Never Know What Old Age Is

By Noah LeVia

A 2010 Gallup poll found happiness tends to be positively linked with age, and 85 year olds are more satisfied with life than 18 year olds.

“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.” –  Ausonius.

Decimius Magnus Ausonius was a Roman poet who lived from 310 – 395. His quote is as poignant today as it was almost two millennia ago: “Let us know the happiness time brings.”

There is indeed a certain happiness, peace, and contentment that arrive with aging. We who have attained elder status can contemplate our lives’ perceived failures or triumphs with hindsight’s appreciation of concluded objectives and goals. Whether those ambitions were fulfilled or not, they belong to younger, departed days.

Now, in our “days of ripening,” we may muse upon bygone ones – relieved that former fights have been fought, not to be fought again; past pains endured, not to hurt again; and desired achievements accomplished, to be long treasured. In the present we may relax, knowing the past is perfected since it cannot be re-lived. Time produces perspective. Perspective produces wisdom. Wisdom yields acceptance, and acceptance grants happiness. Let us know the happiness time brings.

Volumes have been written on happiness and aging. Numerous researchers have examined copious scientific studies on the correlation between contentment and maturing. Carolyn Gregoire, senior writer for the Huffington Post, noted  a 2010 Gallup poll that found happiness tends to be positively linked with age, and 85 year olds are more satisfied with life than 18 year olds.

That is not surprising. I daresay many seniors recall teen years as ones of hormonal havoc, confused focus, and inner instability. Andrew J. Oswald, psychology professor at Warwick Business School, said “It’s a very encouraging fact that we can be happier in our early 80s than we were in our 20s."

Buddha affirmed:  “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” Psychoanalyst Ken Eisold echoed that affirmation as he wrote in Psychology Today, “As we age, we have the opportunity to accept who we are…that acceptance brings a higher degree of enjoyment.” Dr. Vivian Diller, psychologist and author, writes in her blog “…I no longer use the term ‘midlife crisis,’ replacing it with ‘emerging maturity’…with age comes wisdom…and smarter life choices that are more likely to bring us satisfaction.”

Tomes may have been written and published on happiness and aging. However, the connection between happiness and aging is a purely personal one, joined within one’s self. Ausonius urged us to not count the years, to never know what old age is, but to know the happiness time brings. Personally, it is difficult not to count the years. I, like most of us, was reared in a backdrop of birthdays. Counting years was a big deal, a celebratory cause. Learning to not count them has been, and is, challenging.

Nevertheless, I am realizing the happiness time brings, accruing years notwithstanding. Life continues to become more precious, bird songs more melodious, health more treasured, and loved ones more cherished. Appreciation, awareness, and admiration deepen. Gratitude, wonder, and awe swell. Joyfulness of a strong, loving marriage, contentment of a serene home, and peacefulness of an orderly life intensify as age accumulates. Sunsets are as beautiful as sunrises. Perhaps we elders value sunsets’ splendors as time has taught us gratefulness for our years.   

A kindred senior sat down beside me on a bench recently. Some small talk was exchanged. Then he said, "At my age I don't hurry anywhere anymore." He rose and continued on his journey, slowly, to be sure, but steadily. Time had brought him that certain happiness. Time will bring it to us all if we allow it. Together we’re headed home on a common journey.

Like my bench companion, let's slow down, be more appreciative, and be kinder to each other. Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings. And let us share it.


Currently Noah and his wife Vashti live in Mesa, Arizona, where they continue to write their “Happily Ever After Story.” Noah also loves Marketing. He presently serves as Marketing Liaison for three local UPS stores.

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