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16 Answers

christybird's avatar

Mmmm, this is a big question. I think the answer depends a lot on what you think life is for. If life is for cruising around in a convertible in a bikini with a group of friends with the music blared, like Bryan Adams and most ad execs would have us believe, then growing older is, indeed, sad. (Older people just don’t look as smokin’ in a bikini. Although they are more likely to be able to afford a convertible…)

If you think life is about learning to live more comfortably in your own skin, becoming more compassionate and wise, taking whatever life hands you with grace and dignity, loving and losing and still being brave enough to keep loving, then I think getting older can be wonderful.

hossman's avatar

I’m not sure I qualify, at age 41, to be “older” in the sense of this question, but the one thing that makes me sad about being older than I used to be is the time I wasted with inconsequential things I thought were dreadfully important at the time. I feel I am now trying to catch up that lost time.

kevbo's avatar

Oh yeah, life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone.

u101547's avatar

I agree strongly with “christybird” above, and I would like to add a couple of thoughts to her great answer.

1) What we think life is for usually changes as we grow older, but the sooner we “lose” the purposes that don’t have staying power, and “find” the purposes that are proven winners, the ones that last until the end and satisfy until the end, the less sadness and regret we experience later.

2) Growing older is sometimes accompanied by physical pain and suffering which can contribute to sadness. Good health contributes to relative happiness.

3) The older we grow the greater the odds are that someone we love will die. This kind of loss can cause great sadness.

4) People who believe their existence ends when they die often feel a sense of futility and sadness as they grow older. People who have a strong faith in God have a promise that after they die their existence continues in a place of great joy, which takes away the sting of dying.

5) The most common, the most universal reason for sadness with aging is isolation and loneliness. Old people need people just as much as young people do. People who are living around and with loving family and friends usually do not experience that kind of sadness.

As you can see, there are a variety of factors involved here. Our personal choices impact some of these factors, some factors our family has a say in, and some factors are completely outside our control. Is sadness guaranteed to accompany getting older? Absolutely not! Is it common to see older people who are sad? Unfortunately, yes it is very common.

Understanding these factors can help us make decisions for ourselves and for those older people in our lives.

Jill_E's avatar

I embrace it.

I would rather be here today (38 years old) than a preteenager when I didn’t know my identity.

I embrace a few grey hair if it comes with wisdom and experiences in life (and hair dye) LOL

When I was a child, I thought I would stop growing up at age 30.

Long ago, in the 1990s, My grandmother out of the blue, held my hands when I visited her as a college student and said “I am 85 years old Jill and I am still learning and growing.” Those were one of the last words she told me in person and am grateful.

I am still learning and growing. I look forward to more adventures.

Poser's avatar

When I was younger, my motto was, “No regrets.” I believed that I could live my life without regretting any of my decisions, even my bad ones.

Ironically, it’s only now that I’m a little older, and finally feel like I’m at a place in my life I truly want to be that I’ve begun to regret things from my past. But the irony is that all those decisions—good and bad—contributed to my ending up right where I am today. And because all those bad decisions helped to build the character I now have that makes me appreciate life all the more, I’m stuck in a conundrum. I regret the bad times, but the good times now wouldn’t have been possible without the bad times before.

As far as age goes, I sometimes get sad when I realize that I’m approaching the end of my physical peak. But then I realize that as my body ages, so does my mind, and I’m able to break down more and more mental barriers than I could when I was younger. That enables me to shift my peak, in a manner of speaking.

So, to answer your question, sadness with age, as with every other type of sadness, is in the mind of the beholder. Today’s angry, bitter, sad and emotionally unhealthy youngsters are tomorrow’s angry, bitter, sad and emotionally unhealthy elderly.

joli's avatar

I find it odd to hear people in their 30’s and 40’s talking about “getting older”. The average life expectancy is mid-80’s. I hit the big 50 this year and feel younger than ever. Seems I know less than ever in the big scheme of things, and enjoy the little things in life just the same as always. I feel not sad, but awakened with the physical changes; less energy, loss of generic youthful sex appeal, but being a slow process it’s easy to adapt. If I were to dwell on the subject, I would feel sad about lost opportunity, regret over mishandled affairs, and anticipating the reality of placing my elderly care in the hands of others. I think the more trust you place in the universe, and in yourself to prepare your future interests, might offset any sadness in knowing you’ll one day say good-bye.

Ma-goo's avatar

Being 3 months away from age 65 & Medicare, I feel quite qualified to answer. First, a little doo-da; “The Cat in the Hat on Aging”
I cannot see
I cannot pee
I cannot chew
I cannot screw
Oh, my God, what can I do?
My memory shrinks
My hearing stinks
No sense of smell
I look like hell
My mood is bad—can you tell?
My body’s drooping
Have trouble pooping
The Golden Years have come at last
The Golden years can kiss my ass

In spite of it all, no it’s not sad to grow old. In fact I find life at 64 to be just as stressful as life at a younger age, only now I don’t much care & spend a lot more time laughing at it all. Also, a lot more time living how I want to live. It’s mostly a lot of fun!

kevbo's avatar

Recently, a worldwide study was published showing that across the board, happiness peaks in young adulthood, declines/bottoms out in middle age, and then rebounds later in life. A not so great link.

Jeruba's avatar

Sad? No, it isn’t sad. It can be a major pain, not just in the ass but the neck, lower back, gut, knee, tunnels carpal and otherwise, you name it. But it isn’t sad. What’s sad is not growing older. I’m close to the age my father was at his death, and I hope to live well past it. I’ve got a lot still to do.

I love having the knowledge, understanding, and confidence that come with age and experience, and I hope there’s some earned wisdom mixed in. At the same time, I believe that the older you get, the fewer things there are that aren’t funny, and I consider it my right to laugh when something’s funny. If I haven’t really mastered patience or calm yet, I guess I’d rather retain the ability to laugh until I hurt, to ask bold questions, and to blurt out irreverent wisecracks than to muster whatever it takes to get called serene.

One of the great blessings of age is shucking the tyranny of others’ disapproval, and that might even be worth losing the shape that used to look great in a bathing suit.

chameleon's avatar

No, it`s self-pity to feel sad for getting older

bea2345's avatar

On the 4th of April I shall be 65. I shall treat myself to a film, hopefully one of the harrison ford, james bond-ish kind, followed by lunch at a good restaurant. On that day I shall do very little work. I am not sorry to be old. It is surprisingly restful.

Aster's avatar

Sad? No, I wouldn’t use that word. It is the most horrible nightmare that no one prepares you for. It’s depressing and for many, physically painful. Not only that, people you know and love start dying off constantly. Others get diseases. Energy is a thing of the past. Millions take several prescription drugs each day and watch their teeth fall out. Thousands are burdened with raising grandchildren while all this is going on.
No; sad isn’t the right word. And if you’re forty or so I’m not talking about you! lol

smilingheart1's avatar

It will be somewhat different for each person; time is marching on for all of us right from the get go. If we think of life as a bus, it is sad to watch the bus stop and loved ones get off. We miss those irreplaceable loved ones. However, we must realize as we get older that we are not so much going FROM as going TO – the eventual reunion. Every life lived with grace can be a fabulous experience. As we get older we really do realize what is important and get much better at enjoying the moment whether it is amid wrinkles or creaks and groans of the heart or joints.

chewhorse's avatar

Sad? No.. Mortified? Yes, for the simple fact that you suddenly realize that youth is wasted on the young.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

As I have gotten older (I’m 64), I have found more and more things in my life to make me happy than sad. It’s sad that my parents, a brother, and several friends have passed away. It’s sad that some whom I have considered friends have chosen or demonstrated otherwise over the years.

I am happy when I see my adult children, happily struggling to make good lives. I am happy when I see my twelve year old growing in knowledge of the world. I am happy when I look back at a quarter century long relationship I share with my wife. I am happy when I am in the company of friends. I am happy I can still work in my garden with a minimum of age-related pain.

@Ma,-goo I think we have a song to share

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