11 September 2015

Aging gracefully is a lifelong experience

Close to home as it may be, aging - or rather, the process of - can seem strange the more I think about it, especially when I start to ponder about how to do it well.  Questions of whether there's a "right" or "wrong" way of aging instantly come to mind.  Or whether I have a choice in this respect.  What exactly is "aging gracefully"?  You mean there's a grace-less way of aging?

Personally, I've always believed that aging - gracefully or otherwise - is the culmination of one's life experiences.  I mean, if you are indeed aging gracefully, you really would've been doing it all along - either consciously or subconsciously - at every stage of your life; not only when it started to dawn on you that you've aged or that your end is nigh.  Likewise, if you're aging awkwardly, it's all your own doing.

Put another way, I believe each one of us is the product of the choices we've made in life, the things and lessons we've learnt and how we've carried ourselves in the face of adversity.  So in this context at least, maybe the art of aging gracefully isn't such an enigma after all.  Maybe it's simply our choice - or more precisely, our lifelong choice to recognise, accept and, most importantly, be glad with the outcome of all our life choices; no regrets.

So, voila!  Aging gracefully is a choice after all.  This being the case, then we really ought to be choosing it early in life.  We have to learn early on to like - and I mean reeeally like - who we are at every single phase of our life.  We have to, for instance, learn to like the face that stares back at us from within the mirror.  Every time.  More importantly, we have to like the person behind that face.


I think the "graceful" bit about aging gracefully really is all about appreciating who we are and the things we're fortunate enough to have or possess in life - tangible or otherwise, and at the same time accepting without complaint our grey hair, wrinkles, pot bellies and physical shortcomings as decorations earned for the battles we've fought during our lifetime.  Aging is an on-going, lifelong experience - sometimes good, most times not.  Doing it gracefully is learning to be grateful not only for all that we've learnt or gained, but also for all that we've lost.  It means living each day with the (conscious) realisation that we are special.  It is also about others deserving to see the best person we can possibly be at any age.  Don't you think so?


To age gracefully, we have to be happy in our own skin and realise unreservedly that in this one moment in space and time, we are beautiful purely because you are you and I am me.





(Photo credit: The Huffington Post)


What are your thoughts about what I've written here, or about aging in general?  Feel free to comment.

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