They say that youth is wasted on the young. And maybe it’s true that younger people don’t appreciate the advantages of youth, and maybe some of us think about what we would do if we could turn back time. But we say, who wants to sit around wishing to be young again anyway? Remember all the ups and downs, the uncertainties, and the financial instability? And don’t get us started on the relationship drama. While society in general may try to ignore the fact that older people have amazing love lives, we know that love later in life can be so much sweeter than the overly celebrated passion of youth. This year, as Valentine’s Day approaches, let’s take a moment to appreciate and celebrate love – old or new – in older age. Here are just some of the benefits of love in later life.
1. You’ve Got Time!
If you were in a serious relationship or marriage when you were younger, do you remember the stress of daily life together? Work, kids, the never-ending to-do lists…it was probably tough to find the time to just relax, be together, and have fun. But now, if you’re retired, you’ve got all the time you need to actually just be together and enjoy each other’s company. You can travel, go to matinees, snuggle on the couch and have an endless marathon of all the movies you always meant to watch, take a class or volunteer together – the sky (and your budget) is the limit! And maybe all that snuggling on the couch can lead to some fun anytime of day, with no worry of who might walk in the door, which brings us to…
2. The Sex (Yes, We Said Sex! Say It Loud and Proud!)
Yes, older people have sex (sorry if that offends your delicate sensibilities, young people), and it can be some of the best sex of their lives. After all, you’ve had decades to learn what you like – and you know what? You’re mature and comfortable enough in yourself to ask for it. Add to that the fact that you’re past the vanity of youth and are more comfortable in your skin, and you’ve got a recipe for some seriously pleasurable intimate moments together. And remember, if you are experiencing any discomfort with sex or signs of sexual dysfunction, talk to your doctor. Your sex life shouldn’t have to be over just because you’re over 50!
3. The Rejuvenating Power of New Love
Some love in later life is the love of familiarity and history, but some love is just as new or exciting as the love found in youth. For those who are not in long-term relationships, the opportunity to find new love has no age limit. Meeting someone new can remind you that anything is possible, and that there are new beginnings all around us. Spending your time with friends and family is great, but if you’re looking to add a little spice to your life, don’t be afraid to get out there and meet new people (tip: try online dating sites)!
4. No More Games!
Just as you can (hopefully) put aside the vanity of youth as you get older and wiser, you can also look at love as less of an ego-fueled game. Whether you’re dating or living your life with a longtime partner, relationships in older age are distilled down to what they should be about: love and companionship. Oh, with some older and wiser sex thrown in there, too (see above)! You’re probably not out to impress your friends, and definitely not worried about pleasing your parents or starting a family. So just relax, be yourself, and enjoy!
5. You’re Living and Loving in the Present
You know what you’ve learned now that you’re older? Time is precious. The only thing you can count on is the present. And because you’re mature enough to know that, you also know that now is not the time in your life to be hung up on petty arguments or sweat the small stuff. Because of your willingness to accept, and be present and appreciative of what you have, your relationships can take on more of a feeling of immediacy. Let the young waste their time nitpicking; you’ve got better things to do.
6. Endless Stories
When you’re young, a lot of the enjoyment of romance comes from gossiping about it with your friends. But in later life, you’ve got amazing stories to share. If you’ve been with your love for, well, forever, you can entertain your children and grandchildren with endless hilarious stories of your life together; if you’ve started a different chapter of your life with someone new, you can spend your endless time together telling each other the stories of your lives. Trust us, you’ve lived an amazing life and you’ll never run out of things to talk about!
7. Your History and Your Future
If you are with someone that you’ve spent a lifetime with, you’ve got stories, but you might also have a loving family that you can point to and say, “We made that.” Many older couples have multiple generations surrounding them as a result of their love. Even if you’re starting a new life with a new partner, you both have histories and perhaps families that you can bring together to create a new future for yourselves.
To all those older adults out there living and loving – we see you. While much of the world may glamorize youthful (wrinkle-free!) passion, and some may ignore the reality that older adults have rich, full love lives, those with wisdom and experience know better. Young love has its charms, but love can be more satisfying, fulfilling, and even exciting when you’re more experienced, patient, and ready to live in the present. So whether you’re celebrating a love of many years, embarking on a new romantic adventure, or looking for fun, enjoy yourself! Youth may be wasted on the young, but you’ve earned your time to savor every moment of your time with your sweetie.