One of the best parts of age is that personal insecurity and angst is largely behind us. Of course, we all still have moments when we slip into anxiety about ourselves and how we relate to situations within our worlds, but hopefully we’ve released ourselves from the majority of the angst that teenagers are associated with. That “Oh-I’m-so-misunderstood” has been largely replaced with a “Who gives a hoot?” attitude. And you know what? This may actually be one of the biggest benefits of age.

The quest for perfection is stressful and can backfire! While aiming for personal excellence or desiring to do the best we can is a motivating goal, perfection tends to be an elusive ideal—if not downright imaginary— that prevents us from feeling satisfied with what we have accomplished along the way.

         According to research that was published a few years back in the Journal of Health Psychology, “perfectionistic seniors”—those moving into their 50s and beyond—have a 51 percent higher mortality rate than those who approach life with a more laid-back attitude.

In light of this, it would be both kind and wise to do a self-inventory to assess those areas where we’re driving ourselves too aggressively, and maybe figure out some ways we can ease off the pedal. Ultimately, we all arrive at the same destination—and let’s hope it’s a long way away—but how we get there will vary greatly. Life will be remembered in the end as a wonderful or stress-filled journey based on how we chose to treat ourselves during the ride.