12 Things That Get Better With Age.

June 8, 2023

12 Things That Get Better With Age.

May 29, 2023

In January, my next book comes out, “Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better With Age.” In honor of the subtitle, I did a little research on 12 things that are prized for their age—wine, pickles, whisky, beef, cheese, leather sofas, jeans, flannel sheets, mattresses, slippers, trees, and whales.

I wanted to understand if there are some underlying themes that we can learn from. Here’s what I came up with.

1. Age allows for alchemy. An older wine allows the tannins to mellow and the aromatics to blend. Pickles and fermented foods need time for the intense acidity to calm and flavors to balance. Whisky takes on the taste of the barrel it’s aged in. As beef dehydrates over time, its flavor becomes concentrated, giving it a more beef-forward finish. The same could be said for cheese.

2. Age allows for a softening. How much do we love a leather sofa or an old pair of jeans that has softened and form-fitted to our bodies? We pay extra for this kind of patina. If only we could buy aged flannel sheets that have lost their prickliness (like an old cactus). Or a slightly aged mattress. And, boy, do I love my old slippers that seem to get warmer with age.

3. Age allows for connection. Aspens, redwoods, bamboo, and other trees are a small part of a larger organism based on their extensive root systems. And young whales that lose a grandmother are 4.5 times more likely to die than their peers. There’s wisdom for the community in an old tree or animal.

    So, what lessons can we take from this elementary analysis? As we age, we learn to become a mixologist of our polarities: introversion and extroversion, curiosity and wisdom, gravitas and levity, yin and yang. The more we think of ourselves as an alchemist, the greater the possibility for magic. We also have the opportunity to soften how we show up in the world with a new form of compassion that emerges as our ego mellows. And, finally, we think more holistically as we age and treasure our root systems - with family, friends, and community.

    Simply put, alchemy, softening, and connection are three qualities we want to embody as we age.

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