If you’ve had these 12 life experiences, you’re probably an old soul


What is it, and where does it come from?

From being linked to reincarnation and spiritual beliefs to being associated with wisdom and a deep sense of intuition, the term “old soul” stems from a blend of cultural, spiritual, and metaphysical origins.

Fast forward to today’s lingo, where being an old soul is less about rebirth and more about a person’s disposition and outlook in life.

This day and age, being called an old soul is more of a compliment – it’s a nod to someone’s unique and insightful attitude towards life.

Ever wondered if you are one?

Let’s uncover the answer by looking at these 12 life experiences that old souls often live through.

1) Witnessing the birth of a child

Whether you’re a parent, a close friend, a family member, or a part of the delivery team, watching a baby being born is a surreal experience.

You get to witness a rollercoaster of raw emotions – from the pain of labor, the anxiety and excitement of anticipation, and the ultimate bliss and relief as soon as you hear the little one let out their first cry.

It’s more than just a baby being born. 

It’s a lesson on unconditional love and the unbelievable strength of human connections.

It’s a life-changing experience that makes us realize how beautiful and fragile life is.

“A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.” — Carl Sandburg.

2) Losing a loved one

Another important – and probably the most painful – lesson that we learn about life, is that it isn’t permanent.

Anyone who has ever experienced grieving the death of someone close to their heart knows that they’re never the same after the loss. 

They come out matured, not in age, but in perspective.

Experiencing this type of loss creates a deeper appreciation of the borrowed time we have.

So if you’re a person who handles sorrow with a sense of serenity, you’re probably an old soul

You’ve accepted the impermanence of life, which is why you’ve learned to cherish the people and the moments you share while they’re still alive.

Because although just the thought of it hurts, you’ve come to accept that someday, it’s their time to leave.

“One day we will remember how lucky we were to have known their love, with wonder, not grief.”  — Elizabeth Postle

3) Going through a significant breakup

Most of us have gone through breakups. 

But you know those heartaches have turned you into an old soul when you use your newly found “single” time to introspect.

You confront your strengths and vulnerabilities and take in the lessons from the love that has been.

Like death, you accept it. Not as part of the cycle of life, but rather as a step in your path towards growth

For an old soul like you, breakups aren’t the end. They’re simply the beginning of a journey to rediscover yourself. 

“It is strange how often a heart must be broken before the years can make it wise.”— Sara Teasdale.

4) Winning a health battle

Anyone who’s faced any sort of health crisis is forced into confronting the reality that we aren’t immortals. 

We suddenly appreciate the importance of health and notice the small things we overlooked before: like breathing without pain, hopping out of bed on our own, or being able to see the sun rise and set.

Our thoughts and actions suddenly shift from our materialistic desires towards valuing what truly matters: our relationships, experiences, and personal fulfillment. 

We develop a sense of gratitude for what it means to be alive – and that’s characteristic of an old soul.

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold or silver.” — Mahatma Gandhi

5) Chasing after a passion – against all odds

Another hallmark trait of an old soul is their courage to live authentically.

So if at some point in your life, you’ve fought tooth and nail to go for something, that’s the old soul in you shining.

Let’s take running after your passion as an example.

Pursuing a career we really want is not as straightforward as it seems. Our finances, societal expectations, family standards, and so much more come into play.

This is what sets the old souls apart – their ability to jump through these hurdles, and come out winning.

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” — Nelson Mandela.

life altering lessons youll learn by traveling the world If you’ve had these 12 life experiences, you’re probably an old soul

6) Travelling to a new country alone

Traveling to a new country is one of life’s privileges not available to everyone.

And if you’re one of the few who has done so alone, consider yourself a lucky old soul.

Taking on solo adventures is less about isolation and more about experiencing how other people do life. 

It’s a testament to your bravery in exploring both your inner self and the wonderful world around you.

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.” — David Mitchell.

7) Building your home from scratch

Having your own home is another one of life’s luxuries. 

But building a home, at least in this article’s context, isn’t just about constructing a house from the ground up. It can also mean furnishing or decorating an empty space as your own.

Both these reflect your vision and deep connection to your personal space.

It’s not just about painting the walls or picking the perfect curtains. It’s also about creating a sanctuary that reflects your history and aspirations and a space that showcases your personal touch.

For an old soul, their home is their spirit turned into something tangible.

“Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.” — Cecelia Ahern.

8) Undergoing a spiritual awakening

Contrary to what we see on TV, experiencing a spiritual awakening doesn’t require supernatural encounters or vivid hallucinations.

The truth is, this experience can be as simple as waking up one day and noticing things you haven’t before.

It’s suddenly realizing the job you’ve been in for a decade doesn’t bring you joy at all.

It’s being captivated by the smell of your morning coffee – the same one you’ve been making for the last 20 years.

It’s feeling the urge to change something in your life, because some of the things in the “old you” don’t quite seem to fit with who you are now.

For an old soul, this experience can reveal a newfound love for life and a sudden clarity of what truly matters.

“Awakening is not changing who you are, but discarding who you are not. — Deepak Chopra.

9) Conquering a deep-seated fear

None of us are immune to fear. 

Whether it’s rejection, abandonment, failure, or something more tangible like snakes or spiders – we’re all afraid of something.

As terrifying as they may be, they can bring out the old soul in all of us.

Think about it:

When you finally find the courage to face what scares you the most, you come out of the other side with quiet confidence, knowing more about yourself and what you’re capable of.

“Never trust your fears, they don’t know your strengths.” — Athena Singh.

10) Being part of a cause bigger than yourself

If you’ve ever volunteered at a food bank, joined local beach clean-ups, or participated in rallies advocating for the vulnerable, you’re quite likely to be an old soul.


Because only an old soul can look past their personal needs and focus their actions on something for the greater good.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi.

11) Being one with nature

Old souls appreciate sustainability, simplicity, everything that has life – and of course, life itself.

You know (or will know) what this means once you allow yourself to deeply connect with nature.

And there are so many ways to do this.

It could be long nature walks, bird watching by the backyard, gardening, old-school camping trips, simply spending the day outdoors, or even living off the grid for a while.

These moments teach us the value of slowing down, treasuring the earth we live in, and seeing the beauty in every day.

It brings us closer to the heart of life itself.

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” — John Muir.

12) A moment of complete contentment

Have you ever encountered a time when everything felt right?

You know those times when you’re laughing with  family and a sudden thought enters your mind:

“I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.”

These are rare episodes that transform you into an old soul – if not momentary.

Experiences of complete contentment, no matter how fleeting they may be, teach us the power of being present

It’s finding happiness in the here and now, rather than always running after the next big thing. 

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” — Thich Nhat Hanh.

Final thoughts

If you recognize yourself in any of these experiences, you might indeed be an old soul.

Remember that being an old soul has nothing to do with your age.

It’s about having an exceptional perspective that looks past the surface. It’s living through every moment in life as a chance to enrich your wisdom.

It’s embracing the journey more than the destination.

Picture of Sarah Piluden-Natu-El

Sarah Piluden-Natu-El

Sarah is a full-time mum, wife, and nurse on hiatus turned freelance writer. She is on a journey of diving deeper into life through life itself and uses her writing to share the lessons learned along the way. When not on her computer, she enjoys time with her family strolling along the Gold Coast's stunning beaches and captivating hinterland.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.