People who make the most of their golden years usually possess these 14 distinctive character traits

Growing older definitely has its perks. For one thing, you become adept at using what you’ve learned through the years to make your life easier now. This is known as crystalized intelligence, and it continues to improve even once you’re over 70.

You can apply all your life lessons in a very tangible way that’s very personally satisfying.

The late, great David Bowie described aging as “an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. 

Let’s take a look at a few variables that indicate someone is making the most out of their golden years.

1) Creative

Human beings are naturally creative and derive fulfillment from putting our skills to good use as we age. Now is the time to think about doing what you actually enjoy and may never have had the opportunity to pursue while you were busy making a living.

Maybe you’ve always been into photography and would like to start your own business, or you’re a skilled hobbyist in other areas and would like to use your talents to benefit to others. 

Creative people flourish in their golden years. Having the opportunity to indulge your true passions in life goes a long way to ensure satisfaction as you age.

2) Curious

People who are aging gracefully are usually life-long learners, thanks to their insatiable curiosity about … pretty much everything.

Growing older doesn’t mean giving up on your passions. In fact, as we’ve already learned, it’s quite the opposite.  

So indulge your curious nature. There are concrete benefits like reducing your risk of heart problems and dementia, and also helps keep your blood pressure under control.

3) Purposeful 

Having a sense of purpose in life is another personality trait that helps you thrive as a senior. Because you feel you have something to live for, be it your family or a pet project, you’ll live a longer, more fulfilling life.

Instead of searching for meaning, you have the quiet but deep conviction that your life is going in the direction that vibes with your sense of purpose

4) Altruistic

People who age well tend to be altruistic and compassionate. What are the causes or issues that you care deeply about? What brings you a sense of purpose? 

Many seniors use this time in their lives to be of service to others. 

The possibilities are almost endless, limited only by your inclinations. Love animals? Your local shelters are always looking for volunteers. 

Enjoy children? Consider becoming a mentor or reading to schoolkids at your local library. You’re helping your community while enriching your own life. 

But you probably knew that already. 

5) Sociable 

Loneliness can pose a real problem for retired seniors. After all, you’ve had a network of built-in work friends for decades. 

To scratch that sociable itch, make an effort to stay in touch with your former colleagues. You could consider getting involved with clubs or organizations where you pursue your interests while making new social contacts. 

Two birds, one stone!

Socially-minded seniors don’t sit around waiting for invites. They take the initiative and reach out to friends old and new. This can be as simple as shooting off a Facebook message and suggesting you meet up for lunch or a movie. 

Maintaining your social connections and keeping engaged is beneficial for your mental health, as well as your physical well-being. 

6) Makes healthy choices

Speaking of health, it’s said that when you feel well, you age well.  Making an effort to stay healthy is crucial as you age and should be a top priority. 

People who are aging well take the time to get out and exercise. You know that if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. So you’re diligent about getting in some aerobic exercise every day – even if it’s just a walk around the block. 

Your healthy lifestyle includes annual medical checkups so you can address any little problems before they become big ones. 

A preventative approach to your health brings you peace of mind as you grow older. 

7) Stubborn

Stubbornness gets an undeserved bad rap sometimes. Research indicates that many people with longer life spans tend to be on the stubborn side, which means I’ll easily live to be 184.

As a stubborn person of any age, you’re disinterested in what other people think about you. As an aging stubborn person, you elevate that indifference to an art form. 

And hey – remaining authentic significantly reduces your stress levels. So being stubborn is good for your health.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

8) Outdoorsy

According to a study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, older people who get outside every day live longer than those who are housebound. 

We are a part of nature, not apart from it. Just taking a walk in the sunshine and fresh air can improve your mood by helping you connect to Mother Nature. 

9) Love of learning

Older folks who love to learn have an easier time with aging than those who don’t. Because you’re not afraid to try new things and expand your intellectual horizons, your mind remains sharp.  

You may decide to further your education by mastering a new language, or getting a degree in something that interests you. I know I’d love to get a history degree just for the pure love of it, so that’s on my personal bucket list.

Who knows? If you so choose, you may discover a “second career” while expanding your knowledge base.

10) Embraces change

Many older people make the decision to downsize or move to a senior housing complex instead of trying to maintain a large home they no longer really need.

Instead of finding this distressing, seniors who embrace change find it freeing. So much in life comes down to our perception of it.  

11) Adaptability

One of the most important personality traits that helps you thrive as you age is adaptability. As we’ve seen, being open to change is important because there’s so much in life that we have little to no control over. 

In order to flourish during your golden years, the ability to graciously accept what you cannot change is crucial.

12) Positivity 

A positive mindset is the gift that keeps on giving. Striving to stay positive no matter what is going down helps keep your stress levels under control which results in you living a longer and happier life.

Once we reach our golden years, most of us have experienced disappointment, heartbreak, loss, and even depression. 

In order to flourish as seniors, a positive attitude, coupled with adaptability, is crucial.

13) Forgiving

At some point during our journey, we’ve all been hurt by someone we love. It’s an unavoidable fact of life. 

If we can’t rustle up forgiveness and allow our negative emotions to remain unchecked, it can have negative consequences on our health and wellbeing. 

Savvy seniors find their way to forgiveness and release any pent up anger. It’s more for you than for whoever wronged you, anyway.

14) Family oriented

Older people with strong family ties tend to enjoy their golden years more than those lacking that kind of support system.

Maintaining your relationships with family and friends is imperative to thriving as you age. In fact, past research has shown that neglecting your relationships can actually cause the reverse and speed up the aging process.

Final thoughts

Aging doesn’t have to be boring or scary. Your golden years can be the best time of your life when you learn to let the little stuff go and finally live the life you’ve always wanted to. 

Attitude is everything!

Kathy Copeland Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden lives in a New England forest paradise with her cats, kid, and trusty laptop. She has been writing since age 8 and is such a pack rat she can back that up with physical evidence. Music is her solace and words are her drug, so her house is strewn with records and books. Watch your step.

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