As we get older, some of life's major stressors -- such as career worries, finding a mate and raising children -- only appear in the rearview mirror. That's not to say stress is eradicated with age, but one major benefit of getting older is learning better ways to deal with stress when it arises.
Stress worsens preexisting health conditions and can cause headaches, insomnia and weakened immune systems. It affects our mood and our ability to focus. Chronic stress has been shown to cause damage to genes within cells, speeding up the aging process [source: Stein]. However, having dealt with stress all our lives, many of us are eventually forced to take a stand as we age, making a conscious decision not to feel bowled over by the seemingly never-ending stressors that present themselves.
This can be done through exercise, self-expression (either in a journal, through art or music, or to a confidante) and better time management.
Being older also allows us to pursue our passions with less worry of how it will affect our careers or loved ones. We may have more time to travel or help others through volunteer work. And our life experiences enable us to examine problems from many different perspectives, or we may even know right away how to deal with recurring issues as they arise.
Next: Bar fights and motorcycle wheelies -- no thanks.