There is a popular fiction that we grow wise with age. I haven't found that to be true. I've known some pretty stupid older people and I don't feel any wiser now than I did twenty years ago.
My mother had a wonderful expression: 'People don't get older, they get more so'.
Thus, age is the great distiller. Whatever misguided outlook people may have gone though life with is only intensified with old age. Impatient people become more impatient, bigots' beliefs are only reinforced, and the saintly believe even more deeply in the good in others.
One thing I have learned as I've grown older is that age brings freedom. We can now shake off all those expectations put on us by others and by ourselves. Putting aside all those stories of eighty-year-olds who finally cross the stage to get their high school diplomas, most of us are relieved to step out of the race and accept where we are in life.
Retired teachers who remained in the classroom and never yearned for a loftier position can stop asking themselves if they were guilty of a lack of ambition. Mothers who chose to stay at home with their children no longer need to wonder if their lives would have had more meaning with a paycheck.
And now that I’m older, I can just be. A month into retirement the thought came to me that my handwriting is never going to get any better and I realized I didn't care. I don't have to run again, ever, and, in fact, onlookers should be grateful I didn't. My math skills - basically non-existent - will never improve, I'm still unable to knit a recognizable object, and I'm probably never going to be any good at Spanish. I'm fine with that.
At this point, society is satisfied if I'm just clean, rational, and reasonably pleasant.
That's what I call freedom.