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.

On the Surface, Aging Gracefully Sounds Great

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 44,000 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.

I’m Aging “_______ly”

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.”

Mercedes: Gratefully

Jean: Adventurously

Sara: Expensively

Char: Curiously

Patricia: Reluctantly

Deborah: Happily

Marilyn: Disappointedly

Martha: Fully

Diana: Harmoniously

Ionne: Adroitly

Virginia: Naturally

Heather: Wholeheartedly

Kathleen: Lovingly

Bonnie: Difficultly

Meta Anna: What it is-ly?

Andie: Silly

Margaret: Adventurously

Maria: Sustainably

Sara: Sexually

Cecelia: Stumblingly

Jan: Patiently

Jackie: Mindfully

Sandi: Loudly

Sandra: Thankfully

Cecelia: Lovingly

Maria: Unavoidably

Karin: Joyfully

Ann: Magnificently

Alice: Excitedly

Sara: Passively

Betty: Hopefully

Karen: Enthusiastically

Jodie: Optimistically

Karin: Un-regretfully

Abbey: Flawlessly

Penny: Fearlessly

Sara: Intellectually

Judy: Passionately

Linda: Badass-ly

Lynne: Disgracefully

Karin: Playfully

Kathy: Tenaciously

June: Disgracefully

Sandi: Fully

Nancy: Naturally

Veronica: Spiritually

Sara: Thoughtfully

Cori: Wonderfully

Paulette: Gently

Lesley: Magically

Agnes: Passionately

Denise: Curiously

Lizzie: Disgracefully

Breda: Fully

Ginny: Eventually

Thurma: Oldly

Elizabeth: Excitedly

Paula: Magically

Ruth: Uniquely

Jan: Outrageously

What word would you use to describe how you are aging? Are you aging gracefully, magically, uniquely or another way? Please join the conversation.

LEARN MORE

Watch my interview with Carol Orsborn where we discuss whether the idea of “aging gracefully” is an old fashioned and outdated concept:

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