Becoming older gracefully

Aging gracefully

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What does it mean to “age gracefully?” The term itself is a euphemism – it makes us feel better than to say we are getting old. Celebrities in AARP magazine are shown as models to aging. They still look great in their 60s, 70s or even older, but then they always looked beautiful and we average women cannot use them as paradigms to emulate. 

Aging gracefully is not about trying to look like a 20-something — it’s about living your best life possible and endeavor to achieve the physical and mental health to enjoy it. Like a bottle of wine, you can get better with age in certain matters. You are hopefully wiser, have learned from your experiences and focus on what is really important in life – health and family. You are able to let relatively minor issues like a spotless or neat room slide by without getting distraught. 

Aging gracefully has also been an expression used to describe women who choose to grow older without undergoing any aesthetic procedures, but embrace and accept their age and try to take time to engage in activities they enjoy.

Aging isn’t always easy. It brings hardships, but attitude matters a lot and remember, we are survivors. Wisdom, resilience and a mature perspective are the hard-won prizes of aging. 

Growing old itself is an accomplishment but is also rife with emotional landmines like losing one’s independence or dealing with chronic illnesses. Each of us will age differently depending on our physical, psychological and emotional state of mind and also where we stand in the aging process.

We seniors are encouraged to deal with the physical aspects of aging – exercise, diet, skin care and sleep. However, arthritic pains and other health issues make us quickly aware that our bodies will not function as when we were young.

The way we feel about aging has a lot to do with our individual situation. How do we cope with our physical pains? How do we cope with the chronic illness of a spouse? Some of us are cast into a new role of caregivers at the same time that we deal with our own health issues. 

Then there is the psychological side of aging. How do we feel about becoming older? Do we face the fact logically, accept it as part of life, or do we get depressed and despondent?

Finally, but very importantly, is memory. Most of us will have occasions when we will have “senior moments” – another euphemism. We anxiously research articles as to what is “normal aging process” and not dementia.

Above all a positive attitude and acceptance of reality are vital.  We must always remember that getting old beats the alternative. So, let’s try to enjoy our lives to the fullest.

Read more by Felicia Graber.

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