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Pandora's avatar

Why do we sometimes mellow out with age?

Asked by Pandora (27780points) June 14th, 2010

Sure we do not all mellow out with age but I feel I have and some days I certainly wish I haven’t. I think it just has to do that I have learned the art deciding whether an arguement is worth having.
Although I frequently speak my mind on fluther, in my own life I have learned to avoid conflict if I can. However it wasn’t always so. When I was younger I spoke my mind no matter the conflict it would cause. If someone in the family was creating a problem then I attacked head on.
The good thing was that I would say my peace and people learned not to annoy me. The bad of course is that sometimes it created problems for other people or hurt feelings.
So now I find myself either playing the politician or just avoiding people so no one gets their feelings hurt. Of course I just end up with resentment or just avoid some people all together.
I just really rather not get involved in the drama. I don’t have the stomach for it anymore. I don’t feel like spending the rest of my life involved in other peoples drama.

So does mellowing out mean you get wiser, or simply more indifferent to those around you?
Are you mellowing out?
If so, in what way?

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31 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t think it’s “mellow out” so much as “couldn’t care less” anymore.

perspicacious's avatar

We learn to not waste time in the negative; time becomes precious.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The Gallup Organization did an extensive, 17-year study on peoples’ personalities and discovered, amongst other things, that there are 3 myths. One is that, “We change as we grow.” The fact is that we don’t; we just become more of who we already were. Of the 3 myths, this is the one that a lot of people really struggle to understand.

Your post is a perfect example. Your personality hasn’t changed…you still have the innate desire to address the situation, yet have probably learned that your style of delivery only hurts the other person and ultimately makes little or no change in their behavior. That doesn’t sound like mellowing, but maturing.

You have learned to give up The Golden Rule and have adopted The Platinum Rule, whether you know it or not. The Golden Rule, of course, is “Do unto others as you would want done unto you.” The Platinum Rule is, “Do onto others as they want done unto them.”

I understand how you feel, as I am the same way. I’ve learned not to speak out as soon as the thought has entered my mind, but give it a bit of time. Then I privately address the situation with the person, and objectively as possible. Sometimes there are tears, and there have been several instances where the person came back at a later date and thanked me for discussing it with them.

It also really helps if you can point out that this is just one minor thing, and follow it up with a couple of sincere, specific examples of what you admire about them.

anartist's avatar

We’re tired.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I think experience teaches you to not sweat the petty stuff.

anartist's avatar

Or you have crossed out 70–90% of your dreams.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I think that “mellowing with age” comes out of experience, patience, the knowledge that you don’t have to push your agenda anymore because the energy expended in “being right” takes so much energy out of you—- than the energy used for just “being happy”. A lot of the answers above are correct….we might be tired, we don’t want to sweat the petty stuff, your dreams become more realistic (I will never marry George Clooney or fit into a pencil skirt).

I equate mellowing with age to a rock that has been tumbled in a river….all its edges have been worn smooth, all its abrasiveness is now just a shine…worn but yet more beautiful. All that painful tumbling through the river of life gives us an appreciation of the things that are most important. Speaking your mind about what counts…what really has meaning for you…what really matters most….is where energy is well spent. And age allows you to (most times) understand what those important things are. Energy spent in argument is worthless in the end, I’ve found.

Aster's avatar

I was never confrontational but you become too tired to bother. Plus, you don’t care as much when someone feels differently. When someone disagrees with me I usually say, “ok” and change the subject. I think males would tend to keep at it , though.

josie's avatar

Since time becomes more valuable, we learn to not “sweat the small stuff”.

ItsAHabit's avatar

If we truly mature with age we develop wisdom and know what is important and what is not.

Coloma's avatar

I think many people DO change profoundly as they age, yet retain their core personality, orientations.

I know I have.

Along with not sweating the small stuff, and not wanting to engage in drama, in my experience it is about reducing ego and realizing that there are a million different ways to be, live, work, think, and there are no true right/wrong, black/white polarities.

I now just laugh inwardly or smile to myself when I see someone engaged in egoic battle to prove themselves ‘right’.

In my maturity I no longer need anything, or anyone ( job, relationship, status symbols ) to enhance, or God forbid…create a sense of identity.

I am happy, whole and complete and anything that is added to me, my life, is just frosting on the cake. Pleasing perhaps but not necessary.

I am at peace with who I am, what I do, how I live, what I think/believe in and do not need or care for others approval or praise.

I think this mindset, way of being, is part of psychological and spirirtual maturity,
inner peace, self security, the realization that all of this life is really not serious at all, just be nice, have fun and keep the negative energies at bay.

It’s a great place to be, not needing, not wanting, not putting life on hold until the proverbial brass ring has been grasped,....ugh!

This is, as I see it, the bane of most peoples existance, always looking somewhere down the road for conditions to be just so and then they will really start living!

When they finally ‘make it’ financially, when they finally have a relationship, when they finally have that house or car or thing that say’s ” I made it! ’

My words of wisdom at 50…BE HERE NOW!

Don’t neglect present moment living in favor of some magic future time which does not and cannot exist except in your mind.

envidula61's avatar

Why do I drive like my grandfather? Why are my kids always telling me to go faster? Never mind that I catch up to all the traffic at the next stop light and I’ve saved gasoline doing it.

I guess I’m more patient now. I’ve learned that rushing things because I’m inpatient doesn’t help and almost never gets me ahead. In fact, it is just as likely to get me behind. I like being calmer now. When I was a teen and in my 20s I was jangly and impatient and wanting to go, go, go.

Sure, there are times when I still feel that way. I’m late for something important. I’m cursing the subway or the traffic or the stupid person taking forever with the cashier to do whatever. But now, at least sometimes, I can take a deep breath and remind myself that this is but a small thing in the overall scheme of things.

Coloma's avatar

@envidula61

Absolutely..just yesterday I was watching a freind of mine spin out on a bunch of small stuff..I just go into my Zen mode and smile. lol

Pandora's avatar

@YARNLADY For myself I have to say that sometimes that is the case but not everytime.
@perspicacious I know this is one of the reasons but I always saw time as precious. Even when young. I had a long history of near misses so I always felt life could be over at any moment.
@Pied_Pfeffer LOL, Love the Platinum Rule idea vs the Golden Rule. No I pretty much still believe in the Golden Rule. I don’t treat people any better than they deserve. That rule will only invite people to step all over you. I still preserve my little world, I just don’t bother to go into others orbits much. Too many selfish idiots and not enough time. :)
Actually in the past I found my outburst (although they may hurt feelings) change how some people viewed themselves. I was brutally honest about how I saw them and how others saw them but were too “nice” to say. They didn’t always take it well at first but by holding up the mirror they could no longer deny what they knew to be true as well and felt they had to change before it was too late. Some even thanked me later because they said it forced them to see what they were doing to themselves and the people they love. Of course this only works with people who have some sense of pride and a heart.
@anartist Yes we are tired. Excellent
@PandoraBoxx and @josie and @ItsAHabit Agreed. Time teaches us perspective as well.
@DarlingRhadamanthus Love your senario. Only I feel like a salmon swiming up stream. Not pretty and smooth but lumpy, scaly and tired. LOL I think its time the younger ones make it up the stream and fight those bears to lay the eggs. I’ve got my battle scars and just feel happy to swim in my pool where I can avoid bears.
@Aster Actually if I have to go with the people my husband works with, I have too say they may actually get more confrontational. However I did not know them when younger. If this is them mellow than I’m surprise some of them were not killed when younger. LOL Well then you may be right.
@Coloma Interesting! Letting go ego. Reminds me of Tim Burtons, Alice in Wonderland. She returns to Wonderland and they aren’t sure she is Alice because they say she lost her Muchiness since she has grown. She was much, muschier before. So she was still Alice only less of her former self. So is it really ego we let go or our vitility
@envidula61 Never did understand what all the racing was for. We do all get to the coffin on time. Nobody is ever late. LOL
Thank you all for your answers. I’m sorry I posted this and didn’t stick around but it was a thought in my head and I know if I wanted to sleep peacefully I had to ask before I went to bed.

BoBo1946's avatar

@YARNLADY you would be totally correct my friend! i can walk away from drama so fast “your socks will roll up and down like window shades!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Does any of this sound like you?

Command leads you to take charge. Unlike some people, you feel no discomfort with imposing your views on others. On the contrary, once your opinion is formed, you need to share your view with others. Once your goal is set, you feel restless until you have aligned others with you. You are not frightened by confrontation; rather, you know that confrontation is the first step toward resolution. Whereas others may avoid facing up to life’s unpleasantness, you feel compelled to present the facts or truth, no matter how unpleasant it may be. You need things to be clear between people and challenge them to to be clear-eyed and honest. You push them to take risks. You may even intimidate them. And while some may resent this, labeling you opinionated, they often willingly hand you the reins. People are drawn toward those who take a stance and ask them to move in a certain direction. Therefore, people will be drawn to you. You have presence. You have Command.

Cruiser's avatar

I think it has everything to do with having long term relationships with the many people in our lives and having had just about every kind of interaction you possibly can we simply know what to expect. IMO we simply approach these interactions knowing what to expect and “manage” these interactions in the most efficient and effortless way we can.
Just going with the flow.

Coloma's avatar

@Pandora

Perhaps both, although I think ego is huge.. no pun intended.lol

I think our inner and outer vitality, ideally, remains in decent alignment, but, physically we do have to let go of of some things that no longer serve us, just as we do mentally & emotionally.

We still CAN party till 3 a.m. but….the balance and recovery time is waaay longer.
5 hours of partying equals about 5 days recovery time now. haha

Sooo….those times become fewer and far between.

Same with ego…letting stuff go, no longer equates with a sense of somehow losing…it equates with peace…have your tantrums, bitch and complain, I’d rather enjoy a Corona and watch the little tree frogs climb the walls. lol

Reducing egoic B.S. the need to be right, so as to make others wrong, petty complaints, to get on our soap boxes, allow our minds to spin out on anything, equals energy better spent of simply enjoying.

I think it’s the opposite of the saying ‘youth is wasted on the young.’

I think youth is wasted on unnecessary drama. lol

There is no amount of money that would send me back in time…what we lose in form we do gain in wisdom!

Not caring is really the byproduct of a reduced ego, plain & simple.

Love the Alice in Wonderland sharing…that’s a perfect analogy!

Coloma's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer

Weak and confused people are drawn to those that take a stance…I no longer have any interest in leading the parade for anyone.

Get your own baton and learn to march by yourself. lol

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Coloma You are right. It is those that cannot find their own way/voice that want external guidance.

eden2eve's avatar

“Maturity begins when we’re content to feel we’re right about something without feeling the necessity to prove someone else is wrong.” – Sydney J Harris

Pandora's avatar

@eden2eve It may begin there but on occassion one must still raise their voice to a wrong. If its for the reason of just proving yourself right than often time will prove that but unfortunately many people today rush through their lives like a bat out of hell and leave a trail of burnt bodies behind.
@Coloma Yeah, my baton has had it pretty tough and my shoes are worn. LOL
@Pied_Pfeffer I guess at times I still get drawn because the carnage ruins the view. That may have been me but I’m like Alice, I’m not much muchier anymore.

Coloma's avatar

Great sharings everyone.

Yep, I happily pass the torch,
just me and the frogs and a beer on the porch. lol

Brings to mind that old Credence song… do, do, doooooo, lookin’ out my back door.’ lol

I wonder if there is a niche for used batons and marching shoes? haha

nebule's avatar

we are like whiskey?

Coloma's avatar

@lynneblundell

Granny from the Beverley Hillbillies when Jed is trying to convince her to move to Californi and points out that one of the amenities will be it never gets cold, he tells her to remember how miserable she feels trompin’ down to the stil in winter.

Grannys reply-

” I may be miserable goin’ down, but I feel just fine comin’ back up!” lololol

Granny was a wise old bird. haha

Pandora's avatar

@Coloma Yep, We hand them in at the old folks home and get a pair of slippers and a robe.
@lynneblundell How are we like whiskey?

nebule's avatar

we age well
get dark and broody
tastier
more expensive
have a calming effect
and
sit on the shelf
looking proud yet humble

Coloma's avatar

@lynneblundell

Yes, like fine wine…the sour grapes mellow into necter of the gods. haha

Pandora's avatar

@lynneblundell Oh, I get it now. Thanks for replying.
Only I must be on the wrong shelf. I’m getting paler, sleepy and I’m sure I’m not as tasty as I once was. LMAO

nebule's avatar

lol @Pandora of course you are!! x (tasty that is!)

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