What does “Aging Gracefully” mean?

how to age gracefullyMelissa Stetten is in her late twenties. She’s worried about getting old and “hitting her expiration date” as a model.

She puts herself through all kinds of facial treatments to maintain her youthful appearance. Ironically, she hasn’t even made it past her battle with chronic acne! So she goes through expensive treatments for that too.

Melissa talks about her face as her employee. She says she’s in a business obsessed with eternal youth. So she puts up with the facial treatments to keep her skin looking as young as possible.

What if your 20s are a distant memory? Does that mean you’ve lost your attractive appeal?

I understand Melissa’s perspective. She’s just being realistic about the need to plan her next career move. It’s not self-hate. It’s not her own obsession with youth. It’s “just business.”

What about you? Have you figured out how to “age gracefully?” Maybe I should back up a step. What does “age gracefully” even mean?

And how do you deal with aging when it’s not “just business” but something very personal, like putting your picture on an online dating profile?

Melissa is not a shallow person. She’s not interested in using her modeling career to land a marriage with a rich man who can keep her supplied with expensive purses. Her goal is to find a man who genuinely makes her laugh, someone she can relate to.

What do you think about this definition of “aging gracefully” by blogger, Ginger Kay? She was asked by Huffington Post, along with other women nearing or past age 50, what “aging gracefully” means to them. Here’s what she said:

“Aging brings change that is difficult to love. We sag. We bulge. We wrinkle. In our youth-worshiping culture, there is always the temptation to fight these changes.

For me, at least right now, fighting my body’s natural aging isn’t my idea of graceful. I am happy at the age I am. I don’t mind looking it. Accepting the changes life brings with good grace, and a sense of humor, will, I think, make me happier in the long run than obsessing over looking younger than I am.”

how to age gracefullyTo me, this seems to be a triumph. She triumphantly embraces life as it is. As a result, she gets to enjoy life more. She also becomes more approachable, less insecure, and (in my opinion) more capable of a genuine connection with a man. It’s a beautiful attitude that makes her more beautiful as a person.

She doesn’t see fighting reality as something graceful. D.A. Wolf took this line of reasoning a step further. She responded to the same Huffington Post inquiry with these words:

“Aging gracefully? No thank you. I prefer aging defiantly, aging tenderly, aging authentically. I also prefer turning the tables on trickster terminology to do with ‘anti-aging.’ Choose your adverbs to suit your taste, and let’s rally around verbs that serve us better: learning, launching, loving, living.”

She’s not interested in defining her life as a problem. She’s focused on where she wants to go, what she wants to learn, what new adventures await.

As you know, that is one of the themes of my relationship coaching practice. “Draw your attention away from things you fear by putting more focus on what you want.”

Whatever you do, please do not fear aging. I could say the same about any other circumstance you find in your life. Don’t define your life by the problems you find in it.

You are more than that. You are beautiful. You have infinite worth.

Just a friendly reminder from someone who cares.


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33 thoughts on “What does “Aging Gracefully” mean?

  1. Jess said:

    I do not fear aging per say, I fear getting older and getting closer to the end of my time on this planet. I fear dying, I’m not afraid that I am going to die right now but I fear dying in the future when I’m older. I get panic attacks thinking about it all, my mind goes in circles and I get scared and sad about something I know I can’t avoid and I know it’s in the future and that it’s not something that is happening right now. However it still scares me and sends me into these attacks. I don’t know what to do to help my feelings about dying, I try to use mindfulness techniques and breathing exercises, I try to switch my thoughts from what scares me to something positive but it doesn’t work. This fear just started happening to me about 5 years ago. I’m 34 years old now. I wish I could push past these feelings as they can be debilitating.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey, Jess. You’re not alone. Many people have panic attacks due to fears that have to due with illness or death. You might look up a book called “The Worry Trick” by David Carbonell. He’s a psychologist who runs an anxiety clinic up near Chicago, and while panic attacks can be hard to beat, others have mentioned his books as very helpful resources.

  2. manon said:

    Thank you ! I will turn 50 in 2 days and this article makes me feel better. I worked hard on my mindful evolution all my life. I was pampered by mother nature, she gave me a natural beauty. Of course it’s hard to see this beauty fade or change with the time..I want to keep it , I resist this change. This article help me realize there is another way to think about it.

  3. Angela Torres said:

    Hello there ladies ….. first I must say I have read all of your responses and concerns , are all to be taken to heart.
    We as humans at time give to much importantace to things that are so time consuming .
    TIME is the big picture here….we spend too much time worrying about what if what not . Stop …just do it ! We are all her for a short time .
    We have given as women men too much power with our lives.
    I have been divorced for 25 years and had younger mates didn’t work out because I’m too much . What’s too much ?
    I like to live life look good , feeling great and sexy for me. If I see s women in the street whom looks great I tell them I like how they keep themselves. It’s work to keep it together but worth to have a routine to make it less time consuming .
    Having great health, loving family and couple of true friend is great but having and knowing that there only one of you and there will be younger, older, skinner, poorer, richer, women in the world but You your worth this is all . In a relationship you need to know you , know what you want and ask make these men work for what you want.
    Now at my age in 50 I have more men whom are aged 40 -65 whom what a committed but I’m sitting back and enjoying watching whom I want not .
    I wished i learned this younger not to serve but to be served!
    I’m a busy women whom lives life , supports herself raised a daughter alone , works hard and plays hard.
    I have always said we as women must learn to respect each another and help to protect us women . We all we young girls, had and been mothers!
    All the best and always remember your never alone…..

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