We learn by watching others but also through our own suffering which stamps us with indelible memories of what it feels like to get burned. Age also allows for a more efficient use of our energy in knowing when to accelerate versus when we should coast when the occasion calls.
We don't all improve at the same rates but I have never met an older person without some battle scars and the lessons that they invariably came with. That improvement takes time and doesn't come in measured time but more in bursts of experience which then illicit a growth response in us.
If we are fortunate, we will one day be able to see the marked difference and rejoice in the knowledge that the difficulties weren't all for naught.