People who become more appreciated as they get older usually display these 7 behaviors

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Age is one of those things that seems far off and distant during youth but gradually creeps its way closer and closer. We all want to age gracefully and at some point in our lives, most of us think about it. 

Of course, physical appearance is a major part of the equation. Nobody wants to look older than they are and we live for those moments when people say “Wow, you look much younger.”

But it’s not all about looks, is it? 

I’d like to think appearance is secondary when it comes to a person’s overall presence. We can move away from the superficiality of looks, can’t we?

Aging gracefully isn’t just about genetics or a secret skincare routine — it’s about the characteristics and behaviors you embody throughout life. 

Have you noticed that age is kinder to some more than others? What lies at the bottom of aging well and why are some people more fit for middle age and elderly life? 

In this article, I’ll explore a few thoughts I have about which behaviors lead to people aging better and being more appreciated by others later in life. 

1) Unshakeable authenticity

For many of us, we spend our adolescence and early twenties kind of “finding out who we really are.” This might manifest as a collage of trial and error attempts at hobbies, career paths, partners, and so on. 

If we’re lucky, by the time thirty rolls around, you’re fully settled into an identity you’re happy with. 

There’s nothing more freeing than being able to be yourself and to act authentically without worries or fear of judgment. 

You can always tell an authentic person when you encounter one. They’re the kind of people who behave the same regardless of the crowd or vibe. 

By contrast, social chameleons will change depending on who they speak to as a way of fitting in or being liked. 

And while it’s nice to be liked, over time, people will start to see a lack of solidity in your character if you change all the time. 

When people who have a strong sense of self get older, their authenticity becomes even more solid. 

2)  Belly laughter

Don’t you just love it when you hear someone start to rumble with incredibly deep and profound laughter? 

A good laugh catches like wildfire and has everything in the room laughing in minutes. 

Humor is one of life’s special gifts, and some people appreciate it more than others. It’s always nice to see people carry humor into their later years. 

There’s nothing quite like a seasoned sense of humor

Laughter is not just a fun pastime, it also has healing power.

Here are a few of the mental and physical health benefits that might want to seriously consider taking up laughing as a full-time hobby. 

  • Improved immunity
  • Pain reduction
  • Natural muscle relaxation
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Improved mood

3) Exuding empathy

Did you know that empathy can decrease with age

It’s a little worrying, right?

I certainly don’t want to turn into an uncaring grump as time goes by. If anything, I’d like to grow in empathy — not lose it!

I guess that’s why people appreciate people with empathy, especially as the get older. If something’s harder to hang on to, it’s often deemed more valuable.

Empathy is kind of what makes us human. 

Showing genuine understanding and concern for others builds strong relationships and fosters a sense of community and belonging.

Have you ever had a bad day, and a friend simply listened, making you feel heard? 

That’s empathy in action.

It’s a trait that becomes even more appreciated as people age. A person with high empathy and a lot of life experience makes for a great confidant. 

I think we’re naturally attracted to people who can tune into our emotions and meet us on our level. 

And if they have life experience to go with it? All the better!

4)  Untainted optimism

When you learn about the terrible things that happen in life (wars, genocide, injustices), it can be easy to grow into a shell of cynicism. 

This is something I know firsthand; nothing ages you quite like cynicism. 

I remember waking up one day and realizing I had kind of turned into a cynical old goat. It just sort of happened naturally as a by-product of paying attention to the atrocities that go on in our world. 

But I always noticed that it was making me feel older than I wanted to feel. 

It actually took a lot of time and conscious effort to change my perspective. Stopping reading the news daily played a big role in improving the situation. 

Here’s something we all know — the news is always negative. 

Why put yourself through it? 

My philosophy on it was that if it’s important enough, I’ll hear about it eventually.

Some older people don’t let life’s ugliness stop them from being hopeful and optimistic. I hope I’ll be one of them!

5)  Curious ol’ mind

Curiosity didn’t kill the cat — it made it wiser. 

Lifelong learners tend to be fascinating people with layers of untold knowledge.  

They know there’s always something new to discover, and this mindset keeps them young at heart and appreciated by their peers. 

But curiosity isn’t just the driving force that accumulates knowledge, it’s also an attitude. 

You know those people who think they already have everything sussed out and they’re just not interested in hearing any more about it? 

It’s kind of hard to talk to those people, right?

On the other hand, curious people are easier to get along with. Rather than trying to push their views on you, they are open to exploring. 

Curiosity is a characteristic to appreciate in all ages. Whether it’s a 3-year-old child fumbling around to touch things they shouldn’t or an elderly person asking how your day went — cherish it!

6) Humility — the golden virtue

These days, humility is often underrated. 

People seem to have more of a preference towards proud and narcissistic temperaments. 

I think social media has a lot to do with this. It teaches us to show off to the world every chance we get. 

In fact, narcissism has been scientifically linked to social media use.

In an age where being loud about achievements has become the norm, real humility has become a rare gem. 

Humility doesn’t mean being self-deprecating and putting yourself down a lot. 

Actually, you’ll often find that people who do this are covert narcissists just looking for reinforcement and approval — or they just have terribly low self-esteem. 

Rather, humility is about having an honest assessment of yourself — not judging yourself as greater or less than you are. 

People appreciate humility because it makes them feel at ease. You don’t need to worry the other person is always going to try to outshine you or steal your thunder. 

It’s a better ingredient for creating long and lasting relationships. 

7) Relationships as investments

You wouldn’t just plant seeds and walk away, expecting a bloom of vibrant flowers overnight. Similarly, relationships require consistent care, watered with understanding, and sometimes pruned with compromise to thrive and blossom.

Strong bonds form the scaffolding of a life that others deeply appreciate. They don’t magically appear out of thin air. 

They’re built, brick by emotional brick, through shared experiences, respect, and support. 

According to Harvard Health, good ways to invest in your relationships include: 

  • Concentrating on your most significant relationships
  • Selecting activities that are most likely to delight both you and your loved ones
  • Delegating or eliminating tasks that eat your time or tackle them alongside family or friends

We all have duties and responsibilities to fulfill and this tends to get even more intense as we age. 

But it’s important to ask ourselves “What is life really about? — Duties?” I don’t think so. 

Some people work so they can live, others simply live to work but never consider what they might be missing out on as an opportunity cost. 

Don’t be the person who looks back and regrets spending too many hours at the desk or office. Invest in your relationships lest they slip away! 

Connecting the dots

Most of us have a deep-seated fear of aging — especially aging badly. 

Aging badly isn’t about having lines on your face in all the wrong places, it’s about character. It’s about how the people close to you experience your existence. 

People always appreciate a curious mind, regardless of age. We’re also naturally attracted to people who can easily tune into our feelings. 

I hope you see the golden thread connecting these behaviors — growth, empathy, resilience, and connection. 

They’re not just about aging well; they’re about living well. And the beauty of it all? It’s never too late to start embodying these traits.

What behaviors will you embrace to ensure you’re not just aging but evolving and becoming more appreciated with every passing year? 

Remember, the journey is as beautiful as the destination. Each step, each choice, makes all the difference. 

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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