Graceful Aging: What Does It Look Like?
Is graceful aging defined by each individual as they age or by society portraying ageing in a negative or positive light? Both points of view affect each of us as we age, society seems to set the old and very old aside and as individuals we face many transitions in our health, physical and mental.
Graceful is defined as being elegant or beautiful in form, manner, movement or speech.
Ageing is defined as the number of years from birth or stages of developement one passes through, such as childhood, adolescence, middle age or old age.
Graceful ageing then looks at the way we pass through the stages of development from young age to old age contrasted against the ideal of beauty of form, movement, function and style set for us by society. How do we age with style, knowing or coming to know that we will face difficulties in our future?
My own experience tells me that I can not define Ageing Gracefully for anyone other than myself. The experience of ageing is purely individual, full of one's own experiences, attitudes and lifestyle choices. People approach age from an individual perspective, what seems graceful to you may not appear graceful to me. I may enjoy the ballet with its graceful form and elegance and you enjoy heavy metal concerts with opposing hard hitting styles of form and elegance. Graceful ageing can only be defined through each individuals lens and how each individual defines grace in ageing through our own values, experiences, relationships and attitudes.
I have been fortunate in my life to share a portion of my life with many friends of advancing age. Each person I have met has aged in a different way. The truth about ageing, as with all other parts of life, is that we will face trials, fears and successes. We must face the oudcomes of our own choices for a lifetime as we reach old age and at last we will face our own death. In the end we must reconsile our life, comming to terms with those things left unsaid, undone in our relationships throughout our life.
The pueblo pictured above stands as a metaphor for ageing with grace and the individual lens. One may view the pueblo as a conglomeration of old decaying rocks without meaning except for structure. Another may view the pueblo as a contributor to our being, a graceful reminder in form, injunuity and advancing societies.
Your perception of graceful ageing may differ from mine, but it is, after all, about our individual views.