I deplore the phrase growing old because it’s the worst oxymoron ever.
We grow up, grow out of, grow away from, but in our society, the word old implies past its prime, out of touch, not relative. When we speak of people growing old, we have politely said they are moving to a state of unimportance. When we speak of people growing old gracefully there is a morbid sense of expecting them to “go gentle into that good night….”
A ’59 Lafite-Rothschild, a Stradivarius violin, the coliseum, have not grown old. Each has aged to perfection, gracefully, with the passing of time giving each it’s flavor, unique story, and place in our history.
I am not growing old, I am aging gracefully.
I am not running to the plastic surgeon to erase the gentle lines that define my face and reflect the lessons I have learned in my 52 years. I do not wish to roll back the clock to an earlier age when my body may have been more taut, but my mind was without the wisdom that comes through experiencing life.
I am aging gracefully. I am excited to see the sunlight peeking over the mountains, taking time to relish the pinks, blues and periwinkle that announce the breaking dawn. I entertain and utilize new thoughts, new ideas, new technologies, because learning is the one and only youth serum.
I am aging gracefully. I embrace great friendships, weed out the ones that no longer work and feel no guilt because a bad friendship is like trying to walk around in a size 6 shoe when your foot is an 8. I let go of past hurts and grudges, because those take up room in my heart, and I would rather it burst from joy than ache with sorrow.
I am aging gracefully. I am far less likely to get annoyed at insensitive people, demanding clients, snarled traffic, late dinner guests and telemarketers. I realize all are trying to make their way in life. I have, however, developed have a great intolerance for stupid, mean and thoughtless, and will call you out on it.
I am aging gracefully. I realize the only person you can change is yourself. Adult kids make choices that cause me to wonder what in GOD’s NAME they were thinking, but I have learned it is their life and it is not my place to interject my opinion unless it is asked, or they are in grave danger. Although I have fallen down some of those same rabbit holes along the way, interfering denies them their own life lessons.
I am aging gracefully. I have buried my father, lost friends to diseases, and children that were never meant to be. I understand the importance of slowing down to take time out of a hectic day to listen, really listen, when people need a shoulder to cry on or a soft place to land. I understand how critical it is to tell people you love them since that moment will pass by and sometimes you never get another chance.
I am aging gracefully. I have not clocked my husband because he has asked me the same question three times in the last 12 hours.
I am aging gracefully. In this life I sing, dance, am joyous; celebrate life and family; laugh loudly and often; treasure friendships; embrace my creative side; am giddy like a child to see animals in the wild; drive more carefully; am less judgmental; look forward to time spent with those I love; look forward to time spent by myself; thank God for the many blessing I enjoy.
I am not growing old. I will “not go gentle into that good night.” I will “rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Quotes from Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night”
I think you’re on to something. In our daily conversation, we are “insulted” to be called old. Something that looks old is ugly. We don’t want to look old. Old = Bad. Your post goes a long way to righting that subconscious, unconscious bias. Thanks.
What is this “aging gracefully” of which you speak? | After the kids leave
[…] Aging Gracefully (middlesage.com) […]
Generation Above Me (@TheGenAboveMe)
Nice unpacking of a mantra. Great pics. And congrats on the restraint you show when asked the same question repeatedly! I like the point that people can develop and grow across the lifespan. As a young adult, I imagined older adults in a state of stasis for DECADES. Who knew what adventures await during middle age and late adulthood. I’m very glad there is change and growth and excitement all the way to the finish line.
Thank you for your comments. I look back to my parents and their friends, and it seems there is less distance between the generations now in terms of music, etc. I would never have listened to what my folks did, but we listen to quite a bit of the same artists our kids do. I would not change places with a 21 year old for the world. I love where we all are and that the attitudes about aging seem to be changing. Yay us!
Carpool Goddess (@CarpoolGoddess)
Enjoying a life well lived. Graceful, indeed.
Aging gracefully is all about experiences, relationships and connections. Thank you for your comment.
Beautiful! (I’m the one asking the same question repeatedly at my house. I annoy myself, even, because I know I’ve been told, and just can’t remember.)
Oh my gosh! That just cracks me up! I threaten to plant a ginko tree and in backyard and force feed him leaves. Thank you for your comments.
Beautiful. I love the images — both visual and written.
Thank you for sharing some of your time reading the post and your gracious comments.
Wonderful and inspiring. As we age, we learn to not sweat the small stuff…in fact sometimes the small stuff makes us smile. I am so glad that in my home there was and is laughter in the walls.
Pretty much I just don’t have the energy to get that pissed off any more! ; ) Although it can be the little things that drive us the most nuts. Thank you for your comments.
“I embrace great friendships, weed out the ones that no longer work and feel no guilt because a bad friendship is like trying to walk around in a size 6 shoe when your foot is an 8.” Love this. In the past, I’ve sometimes clung to bad friendships (and love relationships) like a life preserver, when in reality, they were more like an anchor. Learning to spend my time and energy on those things which are more fulfilling.
I think we’re all guilty of that. And then we look back and wonder “WHAT was I THINKING?!” Hopefully we live and learn and then focus on what makes us happy. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.
“I……am aging……gracefully.” Well said and me too!
The world is changing and so, I think, is the view of aging women. Thank goodness! Thank you for stopping by to read.
What a beautiful post. I agree that one of the best things about aging is the increased tolerance. I have much more patience now, and I like that.
Thank you for your comments Helene! And I agree!
Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs
Oh, yes, an oxymoron. Poignant post, with a touch of humor. Love that (especially the NOT “clocking” your husband part; made me chuckle). Gracefully executed, Lee.
The way we use words, and some of the combinations make no sense! He read the post and got a chuckle out of that too. Laid him out there, I did! Thank you for your comments.
Grown and Flown
Lee,this is so beautifully written. Each paragraph rings true. I am going to try to remember the part about how we can only change ourselves and back off from my nearly grown kids. Hard to do but what you say is so true. Lovely post.
I thought I’d responded to your comment – I’m sorry! It is hard with the grown children and I often wonder “what are you thinking?!”. They have to find their way too. Thank you for your lovely comment.
Searching For The Happiness | Has Your Personality Changed Dramatically as You Have Aged?
[…] Aging Gracefully […]
What a beautiful and poetic post Barbara 😀
“I deplore the phrase growing old because it’s the worst oxymoron ever.”
I love this intro
Thank you, I appreciate your praise.
This piece was written by me, Lee Aldrich, but my writing partner, Barb Coleman, also wrote a great perspective on aging gracefully. Make sure you get a chance to read that, too!
Again, thank you for stopping by to read!