Several years ago, I entered a writing contest sponsored by Real Simple magazine. As I recall, the assignment was to list 10 secret ways to age gracefully.
Now, I wasn’t quite sure why these ways—tips, really—were supposed to be secret. Especially as they’d be published in a national magazine.
As for gracefully, it didn’t dawn on me until I read the winning entries—I was not among them—that in this instance, gracefully could be equivalent to beautifully, well turned out, fashionably.
In other words, how can we keep our looks and our fabulous style as the birthdays and the decades pile on? "Hey, foxy lady, how can you outfox Mother Nature?"
Now, I’ve never been especially foxy, and certainly not beautiful or fashionable. Even when being courted in my 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s by Eddie and Philip and John and Bill, I didn’t wear much make-up, if any, and went in more for comfy than stylish clothes and shoes.
Now, in my 70’s, I realize that my definition of graceful aging reflects those life-long habits, having less to do with body and more with spirit, attitude, purpose, and, of course, good health.
So here's my rejected list, which I titled 10-not-so-secret ways to age gracefully.
It almost wrote itself those many years ago, and now I offer it as a writing prompt to my readers. Have fun with it, and if you’d like to share any or all of your list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may want to post some of the submissions on my blog.
1. Be grateful.
2. Become a mentor.
3. Write your family stories.
4. Move your body. A lot. Walk, bike, swim, dance, whatever.
5. Be grateful.
6. Take risks, especially in love and in work (paid or unpaid).
7. Learn a new skill or retrieve an old one: drawing, skiing, playing the piano.
8. Stay outraged by injustice, no matter its form.
9. Live in your body, not some idealized version thereof.
10. Be grateful.