We have all heard the phrase, ‘aging gracefully’. But what does that really mean? Truth be told, it is different for everyone. Men age differently than women. Health, lifestyle and financial resources are often factors. For many, aging gracefully means focusing is on appearance. Do I have wrinkles? Is my skin sagging? Am I overweight? These questions are often a result a youth culture and mixed messages from the media. These questions, however, do not really reflect the essence of ‘aging gracefully’.
After reading a variety of articles, blogs, forums and quotes on aging gracefully, the answer seems run much deeper than simply deciding whether or not to have plastic surgery. Here are some of the thoughts and phrases on aging gracefully that were expressed over and over again by women of a certain age.
- I am not going to pretend I’m younger or apologize for my age. I’m going to celebrate it!
- Aging gracefully is being authentic.1
- I know myself better and I know how strong I am. That’s aging gracefully
- Aging gracefully is a result of living gracefully.
- I know the joy of feeling comfortable and confident.
- Aging gracefully is trying new things, traveling to distant places, letting go of anger and forgiving others.
Blogger Grandma Briefs writes, “When it comes to aging gracefully, forget the face creams and hair color and exercises. The physical manifestations of what others see as we rack up the years. Instead, I prefer to focus on a different kind of trait that others see…..attitude.”
Thoughts on aging gracefully, were somewhat different among younger women. Their comments were often a bit negative maybe even a little backhanded.
- Aging gracefully is looking old, but embracing it.
- Growing old with a smile on your face and hiding all the aches and pains.
- Aging gracefully means being the best you can be, preferably, naturally.
- Showing signs of aging, but still moving forward in life is aging gracefully.
Huffington Post blogger Janie Emaus writes of her mother, “I hope that younger women will look at me the way I look at my 80-year-old mother. I’d like for them to notice the laugh lines around my eyes and know that my life was filled with humor and that every wrinkle on my hand tells a story that only I can tell.”
Sue Ann Cooper is the founder The Red Hat Society, an organization dedicated to a playful, joyful life for women over 50. She encourages women to not make a split-second judgment on appearance. “Many women have had incredible lives and careers and still have a great sense of humor and a lot of intellect, and the culture, will write them off: “Oh, she’s an old lady and she’s overweight.”So where do you find yourself on the spectrum of ‘aging gracefully’?
This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of summer in most parts of the country. As a woman of a certain age, how will you spend the summer? Will you don a bathing suit? Will you worry that the sun will make your wrinkles and age spots more noticeable? Or will you wear a hat, go for a hike and end a summer day with a dip in the pool as you dream of your next adventure?