Wisdom of the ages – happy marriage, happy life

I love Ann Brenoff’s article for Huffington Post: 5 Questions I Wish Younger People Would Stop Asking Me because it’s a perfect example of the wisdom we gain as we grow older. Plus she points out how some of the things we worry about when we’re young are completely ridiculous. Because every life is filled with different experiences and different perspectives, I’d like to share my answers for these 5 questions:

1. What’s the secret to a long happy marriage?

First of all, what is definition of a long happy marriage? It varies from one couple to the next. Most believe a long happy marriage is sexual, emotional, social monogamy for life – neither partner wanting more or less than the other. I am not sure that is a realistic viewpoint. Marriage is rarely egalitarian in its needs or its wants. And longevity does not simply define success in a marriage either. if two people stay married for 40 years but barely talk to each other, or touch one another, is that a successful marriage, regardless of its long life?

The secret is finding what makes your marriage happy. Communication and negotiation around what makes both of you happy will bring lots of frustration but also growth and change along the way.

2. When will you retire?

As Ann so gracefully pointed out, this question has two answers: 1. Personal identity and 2. Fiscal ability

The world of today is not the same as it was a generation ago. The economy and health care system make retirement and aging an expensive journey. As our parents reach their twilight years and are unable to care for themselves, it falls on us, their children, to care for them while we raise our own children into adulthood.

Thankfully, research on the health of aging adults has found that those who remain physically and emotionally active remain healthier and happier longer. Thankfully, I love my work so I intend to keep doing what I love until I can’t. And when I can’t I will do something easier.

3. Do older people still have sex?

Yes yes yes! The benefits of sex far exceed reproduction. Physical health and emotional well-being are some of the benefits of an active sex life. However, sex doesn’t look the same in our 60s+ as it does in our 20s and 30s, but it doesn’t have to. Sustaining erotic intimacy in a relationship shouldnt require acrobatic positions or fully functioning anatomy. The joy of sex in our later years is about being in the moment, enjoying touch and loving our partner.

4. What have you done to slow the signs of aging?

The cosmetic industry spends billions of dollars every year telling us their latest creams, serums, vitamins, or machines will make us look and feel young again. The reality is nothing can completely reverse our genetic predisposition to sagging, wrinkled skin, or balding hairlines. As my body sags more and my skin wrinkles, the less I plan to worry about losing my youthful shape. Although there are days when I feel anxious about my loose neck and my wobbly arms, I feel younger in some ways than ever. I have more energy for my partner, and for my mission in life. My values and my focus in life have shifted to time with family and friends, and the ultimate pursuit of balance and peace of mind.

5. What’s on your bucket list?

Does anyone really have a bucket list? Amongst all the work, family obligations, social engagements, and self-care – who has the time and energy to work through a bucket list? A life well lived is not built on the cruise ships, international flights, TV appearances, and momentous achievements. On our death bed, we will reflect on the small, inconspicuous moments of every day life. The warm sunshine, the cool breezes, the smiles of passing strangers, the smooth pages of our favorite book, the gentle touch of our loved ones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *