We live in a youth culture that idolizes youth and prizes innovation. Judaism, however, while recognizing the benefits of youth, vaunts the wisdom and experience of old age, and urges us to respect and listen to the older generation.

“In the presence of an old person you shall rise, and you shall honor the presence of an old person [a sage].” (Leviticus 19:32)

“Ask . . . your elders and they will tell you.” (Deuteronomy 32:7)

“He who learns from the old, to what can he be compared? To one who eats ripe grapes and drinks aged wine.” (Ethics of our Fathers 4:20)

The respect that is due to older people, however, is not the only advantage of growing older.

Allow me to present a list of other benefits.

  1. You finally have your priorities straight. After years of experimenting, searching and trying to find your way, you finally understand the things that matter in life—not money, not fame, not adventure, but the love and comfort of your relationships with friends, family and G‑d. And you’re never too old to nurture them.
  2. You have time to stop and smell the roses. You’re not rushing as much—partially because you can’t, but also because you realize that there’s no point. You take the time you once took as a toddler to enjoy the simple pleasures, and not run around trying to “achieve.”
  3. Your bucket list is shorter, and you stop worrying about the future. Of course, we always worry about the future, but you already know how most things turned out in your life and that worrying didn’t really help anything.
  4. You’re less likely to sweat the small stuff. You have more patience and a greater ability to forgive.
  5. You exchange outer beauty for inner beauty. Your focus is on your inner world more than your outer world. In other words, you’re occupied with things that are eternal instead of ephemeral.
  6. We all want to be the ones to do, to help, to accomplish, but this is the time in our lives when we can be the recipients of chesed, of kindness. It’s less glamorous, but being the beneficiaries of chesed enables other people to do the mitzvah of doing kindness. And it’s also nice to always have a seat on the bus.
  7. People listen to you. They want to gain from the benefit of your experience and education, and you have a rapt audience with which to share it.
  8. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Whether it’s children and grandchildren, a reputation and riches, or just wisdom and acceptance, you can enjoy the benefit of what you have accrued in your lifetime (to date).
  9. You may not see and hear and walk as well as you used to, but by now you’ve probably learned that not everything is worth seeing, not everything is worth listening to, and not everywhere is worth going.
  10. They say that 60 is the new 40. Many older people are still spry and working into old age. Be as active as you can for as long as you can. Youth is very much a matter of your state of mind and perspective, and there are many ways you can still contribute and accomplish—ways you may have neglected when you were younger.

In the Torah, the expression for getting older is translated as “coming with one’s days.” May we all come with our days, laden with the goodness of our years.