Growing Old Makes Us Appreciate the Simplicity of Life More

Growing Old Makes Us Appreciate the Simplicity of Life More

“Growing old is a privilege, but growing old with you is a blessing beyond measure.” – Unknown.

Whenever I can, I like to visit my local Costco warehouse store as soon as it opens, especially if I only have to purchase a few smaller items. 

With only fresh spinach on my list one morning, I was eager to be in and out of the store as quickly as possible to avoid those shoppers who filled their carts to excess and would soon be clogging up the self-checkout lines.

While making a beeline toward the refrigerated, fresh vegetable area, dashing down aisles to avoid the inevitable congestion at the free sample carts (and that guy who always tries to sell me solar panels), I passed by an elderly couple, who, by my estimation, were probably in their mid-70s. 

The husband dutifully pushed the cart at a leisurely pace while his wife walked a bit ahead. She held the master list, which contained all the necessary items to purchase during their visit, crossing them off one by one with a pen as she placed them in their cart.

While nothing was particularly noteworthy about their visit, unless you count the giant bag of chocolate candy bars in their cart, which had me drooling, it was an ordinary day doing a mundane task, which many of us find irritating and time-consuming.

As I emerged from the refrigerated, fresh vegetable area carrying my spinach container, that elderly couple lingered on my mind, though they had disappeared from my sight down one aisle or another.

Because of their retired status and good health, ordinary days are, I am sure, common for this elderly couple, as is their ability to enjoy the simplicity life affords if we could just slow down and appreciate it.

That morning, I rushed through Costco like a marathon runner to save time.

Then I realized that so much of my life is spent rushing here and rushing there without ever taking time to appreciate the journey and the irreplaceable individuals who make it so special. Even when we are doing something as irritating and time-consuming as grocery shopping.

I came across this quote on social media the other day and thought it was quite fitting for this post.

“Life humbles you. As you grow old, you stop chasing the big things and start valuing the little things. Alone time, enough sleep, a good diet, long walks, and quality time with loved ones. Simplicity becomes the ultimate goal.– Motivating Tips.

Technologies have afforded our lives incredible conveniences. 

Tasks that once required stamina and time to complete effectively can now be done easily with an app on our smartphone or through some other technological machine that essentially does the work for us. 

You can even avoid grocery shopping by ordering your items online for pickup or delivery. Amazing!

Yet, with all this convenience and accrual of more personal time, Mental Health America reported that in 2023, 42.5 million Americans were suffering from anxiety disorders, which made anxiety the highest reported mental health issue in the United States.

While I understand that other issues factor into our anxieties, Americans have consistently ranked having more personal time high on their list. Yet, time management is the real issue, not finding more time.

Simplicity should become the ultimate goal. But in today’s time-draining, overly competitive, and experience-driven society, many still need to figure out how to slow down and enjoy simplicity in life, even when it is nothing more than an ordinary day.

We are all acquainted with individuals who believe that every journey through life should be a notable and stimulating experience, one that helps define our status while providing bragging points in mixed conversations for adults and children.

Such individuals often struggle with the concept of leisure time, relaxation, and ultimately being alone with their thoughts in self-reflection. 

Many are afraid of silence and are uncomfortable examining themselves with any transparency or frequency to identify if they are growing and if others see them as the people they believe themselves to be.

But the older my body gets and the more mature my mind and spirit continue growing, the more I have come to understand that what really matters is the ability to see our good fortunes in the simplest of circumstances, not in the grandest moments, which are so often fleeting.

Growing old, enjoying ordinary days

Author Katrina Kenison writes: “It has taken awhile, but I certainly do know it now ­­– the most wonderful gift I had, the gift I finally learned to cherish above all else, was the gift of all those perfectly ordinary days.”

For those journeying through life continuously searching for the next notable and stimulating experience, it is difficult to comprehend or fully relate to Kenison’s words.

Discovering true happiness in one’s life should not be contingent upon the experiences, possessions, or even the status one accrues.

Happiness is often present, though far too often ignored, in the simplicity of our ordinary days. 

For example, when my wife and I share in the preparation and consumption of homemade pasta, we relish and appreciate our efforts while seated at the comfort and security of our kitchen table (where the service is always impeccable).

Or sitting outside enjoying a beautiful spring day while the birds sing sweetly all around us, enjoying a combination of conversation and silence (which is often interrupted by my chatter), smiling at how something so ordinary can feel so magical.

Going for long walks, gardening, spring cleaning, doing the dishes, washing the car, baking cookies, and yes, even shopping at Costco. While they may all seem like tasks void of any and all enjoyment, there is one thing that makes them all undeniably unique – doing them with someone you love.

For many, life’s journey is inevitably filled with notable and stimulating experiences, from marriages, vacations, graduations, new cars, new jobs, and many other special events that hold significant meaning at the moment.

But as I mentioned above, such grandiose moments are often fleeting as the trials of life’s realities can overshadow their momentary joy.

That is why it is so important to find happiness and appreciation in all those perfectly ordinary days that make up the bulk of our daily lives.

To understand that growing old means discovering how joy and gratitude are found in life’s simplicity and how sharing the journey with someone you love is the only experience that matters as “a blessing beyond measure.”

I have often said that from the mundane to the exciting, everything worth anything in my life would be meaningless if I did not have my wonderful wife to share it with. 

Slow down and find beauty, joy, and love in the simplicity of ordinary days, not just as we age but every day, regardless of our circumstances.

We never know how long our earthly lives will be, and those ordinary days are what we will remember in our hearts forever.


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