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Lois Alter Mark Headshot

Forget Aging Gracefully, I'm Planning to Age Gratefully

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I have no interest in aging gracefully.

Passionately? Oh, yes.

Enthusiastically? You bet!

Gracefully? Uh, no.

To me, the word "graceful" conjures up quiet images. Beautiful, for sure -- just think Audrey Hepburn and the aptly-named Grace Kelly -- but subdued and staid, with perfect posture and a lilting voice.

"Graceful" feels like pearls. A neatly-pinned bun. Tiptoeing through a puddle -- or a relevé.

None of that is how I've lived up to this point and I'm certainly not going to start now.

I want to keep jumping in to life with both feet clad in sneakers, taking leaps of faith and making giant splashes, with my hair flying in my face and my bangs covering my eyes, with my neck, wrists and fingers laden with string, beads and whatever adornments my future grandchildren lovingly make for me. I want to Zumba to my own beat. I want to laugh loudly and scream at injustice.

So, instead of aging gracefully, I plan to age gratefully.

I will be grateful for the kisses that caused the little lines above my lips, and for the grins that creased the corners of my eyes.

I will be grateful for my son and daughter who left stretch marks bearing witness to their births, and for the indulgent trips with my husband that resulted in a permanent muffin top.

I will be grateful for the big, messy dogs whose unbridled love tore a tendon in my arm and broke my toe.

I will be grateful for the amazing life I get to think about when I can't sleep.

I will be grateful to live in a gorgeous place where the constant sunshine has dried out my skin.

I will be grateful for all the reading and writing which have made me slump.

I will be grateful to have the love of my life next to me to complete my sentences when I can't remember what I was going to say.

And then, feeling full and deeply nourished, I will quietly say grace.