Things that get better with age

By Arvind M. Dhople, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Florida Tech

Things that get better with age can be seen in many things in life as classic as a glass of wine to a well-earned characteristic such as wisdom.  Aging need not be merely quantitative, but should be looked at qualitatively.  As a ripening and maturing process, it can be applied to things as well as people.  And, aging well for people doesn’t mean to forgo wrinkles, but rather to get better in our understanding, relationships and attitudes through time.  Here’s a reminder of things that get better with age.

Wine:  Don’t whine!  Wines age well because of fermentation when yeast consumes sugar and turns it into alcohol.  Modest glass or two each evening helps people live longer according to a study done by the American College of Cardiology.  Bottom’s up!

Aged cheese:  Say fromage!  From Cheddar to Gruyere to Gouda to Parmesan, when preserved in a cave or cellar for more than six months, out comes an aged cheese – sharp and hard or firm in texture.  The taste is greatly enhanced.

Wisdom:  Experience and acquired knowledge combine to form a potent mixture – wisdom.  We know what others do not, nor can we merely explain it.  What we have come to know in our hearts and minds forms a guiding personal truth and personal wisdom.

Attitude:  Like the rough edges of a rock that tumbles through a stream over time being smoothed into river rock, time can smooth and temper attitudes like nothing else.  An attitude we held as a teenager seems trivial at the age of 60.

Music:  Whether it’s classical or rock that we prefer, when we hear a song from our youth that we listened to then, it only gets better with age as well as transports us through time.  According to ‘Psychology Today’, songs evoke vivid memories – “The song we love become woven into a neural tapestry entwined with the people, seasons and locations throughout our lifespan”.

Art:  Art itself doesn’t improve with age, but our appreciation of the art does.  And hence the value.  From Van Gogh to Gauguin to Seurat to Monet, artists who had been rejected in their lifetimes now are equated with prices in the tens of millions for one work.  While some art, like art our children and grandchildren produce, becomes more valuable on an emotional and sentimental level.

Friendships:  As trust develops and time passes, friends become nearer and dearer.  Our oldest friends can be said to be the dearest, and we often go to great lengths to keep these friendships alive.

                Other things that get better with age: trees, antique cars, favorite shirts, jeans, common sense, love, self-confidence, stringed instruments, cast iron pans, whiskey and empathy. While aging is inevitable, it’s important to know that the word isn’t synonymous with decline.  In many cases, a positive outlook and the refusal to give into perceived burdens or stereotypes are the secrets to aging well. 

                Last but not least, it’ll benefit you to get into the habit of seeing “the bigger pictures” sooner than later.  From there, remember to keep it in clear view throughout your years.