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forget aging gracefully. i’m planning to age gratefully.

Age gratefully

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, and 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.

 I won the 2013 BlogHer Voices of the Year People’s Choice Award in the Inspiration category for this piece. Thank you so much for all your votes! xo



  1. Such a beautiful post! As a permanently grace-deficient type myself, I applaud your vision…and want to follow in your footsteps. Except for the dog breaking my toe. That I can do perfectly fine on my own, just by walking.

  2. Enough said! Well done…love this post!

  3. Couldn’t have said it any better. Fresh and inspiring, wonderful thought for the day, thank you!

  4. Well said! Accentuate the positive…eliminate the negative….:-)

  5. Great post! I feel like there are quite a few of us to whom the term “graceful” just doesn’t apply LOL. Agreed with everything, except the part about the dogs. I can’t relate to that. I am grateful though that my cats throw up in the most inopportune places LOL. Pets really are the best. 🙂

  6. Oh, what a great spin on the phrase. I observe that those who are happy in midlife and late life are those who have an attitude of gratitude. A wonderful meditation on the topic!

  7. Love this line – “I want to keep jumping in to life with both feet clad in sneakers.” I like being grateful, too. We are lucky to have lived through ALL of our life’s experiences. They make us who we are.

  8. I am with you on aging gratefully! I too embrace all of life’s happenings! Cheers to many more years!

  9. Lois – fabulous post! I’m grateful that I’m at age where I take the time to be thankful & grateful for all I have and all I’ve lived through. It does seem as if I took so much for granted in those younger years, but I’m blessed that they made me who I am today (hey, this gratefulness thing is contagious, lol)

  10. Very nicely done! I’m loving all the posts today–grateful for the chance to learn what others think.

  11. Sally Prangley says:

    Yes, very well said, I write with tears in my eyes. While I may not end up having grandchildren or a dog as experiences in my life, I have more than enough to be grateful for– and before I fall asleep most nights I think about what I am grateful for from that day!

  12. Gratitude with grace! Great post.

  13. Carpool Goddess says:

    Yes, I’ll take grateful over graceful any day!

  14. Love your ode on gratitude…particularly the little kisses creating smile wrinkles! Brilliant take on aging.

  15. Love your spin on this. Aging GRATEFULLY – and with each “thing” that goes wrong with my bod, I am ever more grateful for the things that work “the way they’re supposed to.”

    Yes, it is too late for me to start being graceful, too.

  16. Audrey Kamin says:

    Such a beautiful post from a beautiful person!

  17. Beautifully said!

    (I shouldn’t be surprised that a few of us have mentioned Audrey Hepburn today, but I am, because we’ve each viewed her so differently in relation to the subject.)

  18. This is beautiful and perfect, right to the end. I have so much to be grateful for, too, and have never been a very graceful person to begin with!

  19. Grateful. Yes! As much as we all have days when the losses are deeply felt, fortunately there are more days when perspective allows for seeing how much remains to be embraced and discovered.

    Lovely, wise post.

  20. Yep! Gratitude is definitely the way to go!

  21. Chloe Jeffreys says:

    I applaud this notion. Gracefully sounds very passive. As someone who has never been passive in her life, why would I start now? Live like you mean it!

  22. Caryn/The Mid Life Guru says:

    I’ll take your aging gratefully over gracefully any day. Thanks for your thoughtful message.

  23. I’m next to ya, girlfriend. In everything you said, I am right beside you. One thing, though. My curly hair won’t fly in my face, so I’ll just shake out my curls while you toss your beautiful locks around.

    I love aging gratefully. Well said.

    A beautiful, spiritual and honest post about how we see ourselves. We may be chronologically aging. But we still think and feel like kids (most days) and may we continue to live our entire life thinking and feeling that way. I’ll meet ya on the dance floor!

    You are a beautiful, warm and wonderful person. I am honored and proud to call you my friend.


  24. Jamie Cat Callan says:

    So moving and so inspiring! Merci beaucoup for your essay and for the entire project. Quite brilliant. And this would make a great anthology too! Love, Jamie

  25. Great post! I too “want to keep jumping into life with both feet clad in sneakers”…always have & always will. I am grateful to have discovered you via the GenFab connection.

  26. Great post. Aging has been on my mind since I just had one of those “big” birthdays. I’m really stunned by the number of women who tell me they dread facing those even number birthdays.
    I tell them it sure beats the alternative.

  27. Lois, this is perfection. We should all have your positive attitude and stop whining already. Love it!

  28. I love this. To me… aging gratefully is the perfect definition of aging gracefully.

    I am grateful to have met you at BlogHer Pro and also learned all about GenFab!

  29. Oh my gosh. Your grateful list is fabulous! Made me laugh – sorry, I’ve had a big dog too that just about gave me a concussion – and reread the list another time. Thank you!

  30. Rachel Harari says:

    This article is a gem. I loved every word and every image it conjured up. Everything you write is so profoundly perfect and this one is priceless. Adored it! We will not go quietly!

  31. Lois, you had me at your title! You are so right that being grateful is a vital expressiion for anyone at any age. Perhaps it is just that we who are older have a perspective that our younger selves coukd never have known. Great post – love your enthusiasm.

  32. What a great list…what a great outlook! Love those big sloppy dogs!

  33. What a wonderful outlook. It reflects the optimistic way you look at life and I love that you share with all of us.

  34. A wise and beautifully done post. I like your take on the theme! Yes, grateful outshines graceful any day of the week, no matter one’s age. Well done!

  35. I loved this! Of course, I must confess that I love all of your posts. 🙂 I wish more people embraced this idea of Aging Gratefully!

  36. Wow, such a beautiful uplifting reminder of the only way to age! Grateful and don’t forget to say your grace! Thank you!

  37. I echo your gratitude list. Great post!

  38. I should have posted earlier when I read your inspiring post! Instead, I can now congratulate you on winning the Inspiration category People’s Choice Award for BlogHer ’13 with this post.

    Thank heavens for people like you who have contagious positive perspective!

  39. Virginia Sanders says:

    Stopping by both to say congratulations on the VOTY honor! You definitely deserve it.

    I’m trying to be grateful for my white hairs creeping in among the brown, but I’d be so much more grateful if I could just flip a switch and have them all turn white at the same time.

  40. Somehow I missed this the first time but now that I have “found” it, read it, I will cherish, re-read and share. It is a great reminder that when I look in the mirror and see the lines and scars from teenage acne, years in Hawaii and chemo treatments I celebrate the fact that I am still here loving my family, my friends, my art and my life. Thank you and congrats on your award. well deserved!

  41. Susan Bailey says:

    Even better the second time around! Thanks for the great thoughts!

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