Forget trying to age gracefully. It’s not your responsibility to make others feel better about getting older.
What does it mean to age gracefully?
First, let’s look at the concept of doing something gracefully. It’s performative and about appearances, about how something looks on the outside. There is no agency in doing something gracefully.
The Oxford dictionary defines ‘gracefully’ as: in a respectful and dignified way; in an attractively elegant way.
Sugar and spice and everything nice.
This is yet another of many heavily gendered ideals pressuring women to show up in the world in a certain way.
In a way that doesn’t make us uncomfortable. And the idea of getting old can make us so uncomfortable. Until we get to our 40s, that’s how most of us compartmentalize it, as an idea.
To age gracefully is to age in a way that makes others feel better.
Because our culture views aging as inherently ungraceful and undesirable. We don’t want to be made aware or reminded of the inevitable. So if you’re going to do it, do it gracefully.
Recede to the edges.
When you do have to be in the world, do it with dignity. Don’t be a woman who’s trying too hard. Look effortlessly younger than your age. And at some point, gracefully accept your wrinkles and limitations.
If you’re lucky to live a long life, getting older is not optional.
Lo and behold, as I approach 50, I’ve been forced to face this reality. And I’m not going to do it gracefully. I’ve decided to do everything within my control to age boldly. To be brazen, outspoken, and daring like I never have before.
I will not rage against the dying of the light.
I will wholeheartedly embrace the light I have, and if you don’t like it…
that’s your problem.
This post was created with Typeshare