05/28/2014 06:59 am ET Updated Jul 28, 2014

60 Better Alternatives to Aging Gracefully

Are you aging gracefully? More importantly, would you even want to? Or, is the concept of aging gracefully old-fashioned and irrelevant? In a recent interview, Carol Orsborn and I discussed the words that society uses to discuss how older women should behave. It really does seem like the rest of the world expects us older women to "grow old gracefully."

Carol mentioned that another author even told her that this time of life should be known as the "serene 60s." We both felt that this description fell far short of the dynamism, complexity, energy, and intelligence that older women of our generation display.

Before presenting alternatives, I will accept that "grace" sounds like a lovely word. After all, who wouldn't want to be charming and refined? The problem is that it is both inaccurate and restrictive. It is inaccurate because older women want so much more from life, as the rest of this article will show. It is restrictive, because, like the "good girl" syndrome, it tells us how we should behave to be accepted by society. It implies that older women should slow down and gently fade into the sunset.

When I discussed this topic with the Sixty and Me community of over 43,000 women over 60, they were almost unanimously in favor of rejecting the concept of growing older gracefully. I asked them to give me one adverb that described how they were aging. Their answers were funny, uplifting, and full of personality.

A few women even made up their own words (see numbers 15 and 36.) Here are 60 words to describe how one should act as a 60-year-old woman. Some may surprise you and number 40 may shock you. For the record, no one chose "gracefully."

  1. Mercedes: Gratefully
  2. Jean: Adventurously
  3. Sara: Expensively
  4. Char: Curiously
  5. Patricia: Reluctantly
  6. Deborah: Happily
  7. Marilyn: Disappointedly
  8. Martha: Fully
  9. Diana: Harmoniously
  10. Ionne: Adroitly
  11. Virginia: Naturally
  12. Heather: Wholeheartedly
  13. Kathleen: Lovingly
  14. Bonnie: Difficultly
  15. Meta Anna: What it is-ly?
  16. Andie: Silly
  17. Margaret: Adventurously
  18. Maria: Sustainably
  19. Sara: Sexually
  20. Cecelia: Stumblingly
  21. Jan: Patiently
  22. Jackie: Mindfully
  23. Sandi: Loudly
  24. Sandra: Thankfully
  25. Cecelia: Lovingly
  26. Maria: Unavoidably
  27. Karin: Joyfully
  28. Ann: Magnificently
  29. Alice: Excitedly
  30. Sara: Passively
  31. Betty: Hopefully
  32. Karen: Enthusiastically
  33. Jodie: Optimistically
  34. Karin: Un-regretfully
  35. Abbey: Flawlessly
  36. Penny: Fearlessly
  37. Sara: Intellectually
  38. Judy: Passionately
  39. Linda: Badass-ly
  40. Lynne: Disgracefully
  41. Karin: Playfully
  42. Kathy: Tenaciously
  43. June: Disgracefully
  44. Sandi: Fully
  45. Nancy: Naturally
  46. Veronica: Spiritually
  47. Sara: Thoughtfully
  48. Cori: Wonderfully
  49. Paulette: Gently
  50. Lesley: Magically
  51. Agnes: Passionately
  52. Denise: Curiously
  53. Lizzie: Disgracefully
  54. Breda: Fully
  55. Ginny: Eventually
  56. Thurma: Oldly
  57. Elizabeth: Excitedly
  58. Paula: Magically
  59. Ruth: Uniquely
  60. Jan: Outrageously

What word would you use to describe how you are aging? Please leave your comments below or join the conversation at the aging gracefully section of the Sixty and Me forum.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Things I Know About Women Now That I'm Post50