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Last month I turned 40 – a milestone birthday by most standards. People’s reactions were generally encouraging and positive, but some thought I may end up having a nervous breakdown or midlife crisis. This made me think more about our society and why we put so much pressure on ourselves to stay young. We have face creams, promote plastic surgery and have fashion options tend to skew towards those 35 and younger. Any recruiter will also tell you that older applicants have a more difficult road to finding a new job. I feel strongly that it is important for us to embrace people of all ages and I caution that diminishing the value of those who are older does not serve us very well. Why does age matter?

Here’s my list of top benefits to growing older:

  1. Your life experiences hone your intuition, perspective and ability to think clearly
  2. You know a lot more people than you did when you were 18, or even 25.
  3. You tend to take things less personally and focus more on your needs.
  4. You have a better sense of who you are and what makes you happy.
  5. You are probably less addicted to technology and able to separate from gadgets.
  6. You probably earn more money than you did when you were younger, and thus might have more ability to do things in your leisure time.
  7. You are aware of what you’re good at and also your weaknesses.
  8. You have wisdom that standardized tests can’t capture.

Think about these things the next time you talk to someone older than you (perhaps a different age demographic). You are probably more similar than you think, and you may actually learn a thing or two.

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