When you are young, you are more athletic. That is what we have been taught to believe. In the NBA and other professional sports leagues, fans salivate over the prospects in their teens or early 20s. When those prospects reach the ripe old age of 30, fans then start to think that those players are in the decline and should be dumped for new prospects.
But those fans often miss how the greats continue to perform into their 30s. In basketball, Dirk Nowitzki won his championship at the age of 33. Hakeem Olajuwon was 31 when he won his first championship. Steve Nash continued to be a great player well into his late 30s. And in other less demanding sports, we see players perform into their late 30s, 40s, and beyond.
For all that we talk about the springtime of youth, we should also remember that with age comes wisdom. There is no reason to think that once you have passed 30, you will be stuck relying on home health care. In fact, there are many benefits which come growing older.
We may look back on our younger days with some fondness, but let us be honest: those days were often no picnic either. When we were young, we often found ourselves more stressed out, filled with emotions and hormones, and were more ready to make rash and poorly thought out decisions.
The old saying “with age comes wisdom” exists for a reason.Inc. found that a 40-year old or 50-year old startup was far more likely to be successful than one founded by a younger individual. Young people may be better at dreaming up new ideas, but what distinguishes a successful from a failing business is patience and execution. And an older individual has seen with experience what makes one successful and what does not.
Not only are you more likely to be successful, but you are more likely to feel sure about yourself. Older folks are more willing to accept help, feel more emotionally secure, and have a more positive outlook on life. Far from feeling depressed to see our youth gone, we look back on what we have accomplished with a sense of satisfaction.
Now it is true that one cannot become an elite basketball or football player starting at the age of 35, though one of my favorite clips on the Internet is a young man doing some ridiculous dudebro weight stunt while a 94-year old man drains free throws in the background. But in fact, youth does not necessarily mean peak physical accomplishment. In long-distance activities such as marathons or triathlons, the endurance events that the human species evolved to do, peak athletic performance happens in the late 30s to early 40s age range, and plenty of people older than that still have excellent results.
An older person is better at pacing oneself than someone who thinks they are invincible and can forever, and knows more about how to take care of oneself. The reality is that while we may not be able to do everything a younger person can do, there are plenty of things which we can accomplish that they cannot. Greater emotional stability, patience, and wisdom are real virtues that are not valued enough in modern society. But they are virtues which many older people learn to develop.
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