Long past the grim-dark of midnight, in a loud and crowded bar somewhere in the red-brick old town of Edinburgh, I found myself talking with a friend who was well and truly down in her cups due to a recently ‘celebrated’ birthday.

As the conversation unfolded, she repeatedly invited me to commiserate with her on the general unfairness of aging and the perceived dearth of her bright glow youth; to which I replied that, in all honestly, as I have gotten older I have noticed myself becoming markedly happier.

Sitting up suddenly, alert, incredulous, (and swaying not a little) she blurted: ‘How is that even possible?’.

This post is my answer to that question.

Oh! Time, you cruel bitch… ;-)

The 25th of July is my given birthday.  And on that date in 2015 I will be 37 years old.

Since my later childhood, with each year that has passes, I become happier.  This is not intended to be a boast, nor is it hubris or hyperbole, it is merely the truth.  This upward trend in the quality of my inner life has been consistent enough, and has continued for a long enough span of time that, at this point it cannot be ascribed to mere happenstance or luck.  The truth of the matter is that, far from being accidental, I believe the lions share of this utterly welcome phenomenon is down to five things that I actively: do, focus on, and cultivate in my day-to-day.

Would you like to know what they are?

#1 Meditation:

I have written before about what I consider to be the real value of meditation.  This practice, along with the process of doing my work, may well be the greatest tool and gift I have received in my life.

Imagine each day were a journey you had to take by car.  Every morning you must climb into the driver’s seat and set off on the road until you reach your destination.  The problem is, every day the windshield and mirrors are thick grimed with dust and the handbrake has reset to the ‘on’ position.  So you are faced with a choice.  You can rush to get started and drive your drive, hardly able to see the road ahead with the brakes all-screaming in your ears or… you could take a little time before you set off each morning to clean the dust from your windshield and mirror, and release the handbrake.

Meditation has had a global effect on my life.  It has made everything better.

#2 The Physical:

I work out most days for at least an hour, and have done so for a long time and, strange as it may seem, the physical gains (while a welcome side benefit), are not the primary driver behind this particular behaviour.

Long ago I noted that: on days that I work out, I am able to be a better person; both for myself and for the people around me.  I am able to work harder for longer, to sustain focus, and create things of a much higher quality.  I am able to be kinder, calmer, more compassionate, and more loving.

On days that I work out, I operate at a different frequency.

#3 Reading and Study:

I have written previously on this blog about some of the reasons why I think reading is so important.  I have also posted about how many books I read each month.  Something I haven’t said thus far is: the real reason that I read so widely is to find the books that I can read deeply.  Books that hold information and knowledge that, when contemplated, can literally change the way a person looks at things, feels about things, the way that someone acts in the world.

These books have gifted me benefits too innumerable to recount.

#4 A Good Work:

A huge part of my happiness and satisfaction in life comes from doing a work that I love, that creates real value for others.

I have shaped my whole life around this idea, and the road has not always been easy, but I would honestly pay the price a thousand times over, and a thousand times more to be where I am right now.

Why?  Because doing a work that you love that adds value to the world is, in my humble opinion, what is meant by: living the Good Life.

#5 Good Relationships:

As ever, I have saved the most important for last.

I count myself lucky to be able to say, without reservation, that the greatest source of active joy in my life are the people that I love.  My partner, my true friends, my chosen family, and my audience.  The relationships I have been fortunate enough to: stumble upon,  find, nurture, or build, have given me something which lives well outside the borders of usual descriptive language.

The nearest I can get to it is to say that: in my life, I have never felt a deep connection with a specific place or location; instead, it is these primary relationships that have rendered within me the greatest feelings of love, the deepest sense of community, and the truest experiences of the meaning of the word: ‘home‘.

They are, quite literally, my everything.

Thankyou for reading this.

– J

[Note: Those are my five things – What are yours?  What are some of the things that you do or focus on in your life that make you happier year on year?  Please let me know in the comments section.]

My name is James Radcliffe and I am a 100% audience supported independent artist.  If you like what I do (and can afford it) then please consider buying some of my music.  Each purchase really makes a big difference to me and 10% of every sale goes to a charity which: houses, feeds, clothes, and educates orphaned children in Nepal.

Also, every month I send out a newsletter packed with Interesting and Exclusive Things.  If you sign up today you’ll also get 3 FREE tracks of my music as a welcome gift.

Get 3 Free Tracks Now.

And lastly, if you’d like to find out what I’m up to on a more day-to-day basis then here is my brain on Twitter:

301 thoughts on “ The 5 Reasons I get Happier as I get Older… ”

  1. Enjoyed your post on aging. These are the things that will keep you thru to old age. One I would add is always have a sense of humour. The older I get the more I thank God I have one. It doesn’t bother me most of the time aging. Mostly I laugh at the silliness of it. And in those other moments wine is good well wine is always good.
    I haven’t done meditating but on your advice I will try it out, always meant to. And I couldn’t agree more on the reading and learning. And of course Love in whatever form that takes in ones life. There must be Love.

    Thank you for you blogs and beautiful music. My day is already better


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thankyou so much, this really means a lot to me.
      I agree, humour is a must! Also wine. Wine can be the good ;-)
      It makes me so happy to hear that you are planning to try meditating – feel free to let me know how it goes, it has made a huge positive difference in my life.
      And love. Yes. Of course.
      Always love.
      You made me smile. Have a great night,
      – J


  2. “I operate at a different frequency”, my absolute favourite sentence in this post, although there are so many. I haven’t had a chance to read all of your work yet but I will because I found your account on twitter, I don’t use it much, but when I do, I’m drawn to the words you write, because they are so thoughtful, intention, beautiful and create that connection of community you are building. Thank you for creating and sharing your work!! Christy

    Liked by 2 people

  3. How did I miss this article(another one, lol)?! This is perfect James. I’m so loving this.
    Oh yes, Time can be a cruel bitch. But don’t let it take over, ever! And you are so right, it seems the older you get the better it feels, yeah I know, sometimes you just don’t want to bother and for others is just blah, but I believe it’s also part of nature. Just deal with it, you have that power. Do what you like, and know that life is beautiful which ever way you chose to live it.
    Have you ever heard the phrase, “Act your age” ?? I laugh when someone is talking about this and they were told by someone else. How are we suppose to act our age? We have never been this age before. That’s the beauty of it, is it not? To live in the moment and never take it for granted.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Everyone has their own ways of living, but with a controlled view of our lives any of us can live better lives, I’m in the process of writing something of the same, it’s called This Side of Heaven. At the heart of it is one belief I stand by, that is to learn from the bad or harsh; but keeping the good in your life. Well happy birthday to you, another year to refine the benefits of your life parameters. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou very much for this, I really appreciate it. I love the way you frame your belief – good luck with the writing of it, and thanks for stopping by.
      Have a good one,
      – J


  5. James, as a former librarian I can tell you that literature can hold up a mirror to ourselves and show us who and who not we wish to be. Armed with that self knowledge we can go on to re-create our best selves. I suggest looking at Pulitzer prize winners in literature for a to read list, just a beginning. I have just finished reading “Into the Beautiful North” by Luis Alberto Urrea

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m turning 65 and am definitely the happiest I’ve ever been. I essentially follow your prescription for happiness. What helps me also are the following
    1. Eating clean and healthy foods
    2. Having a relationship with a G-d of my understanding
    3. Doing service and helping others
    4. Creating body flexibility with yoga and tai chi
    5. Sharing my feelings with others
    Be well

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post James. I relate to your words about getting older. I love being in my 30s and a lot happier now… more than I’ve ever been before. I like the 5 things you listed too… good list to live by. Thank you for visting my blog. Means I was able to find yours… enjoyed reading some of your posts. Have a great week. Lisa ☺

    Liked by 1 person

Click Here To Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s