Awful Age


I once read somewhere that what aging really is, on the most basic level, is your cells…when they replicate…start making “mistakes.” If you’re privy to something akin to my sick sense of humor, you can learn to laugh at some ways in which this manifests. Like I defy the most insightful analyst to find hidden meanings as I more-and-more frequently come up with the weirdest typos, typing in completely unrelated words as blithely as an Alzheimered Julie Christie putting the frying pan away in the freezer in the wonderful movie Away from Her.

But can anyone, analyst or no, find the at-least-hidden-from-my-sight “grace” possible while your mind and body gradually wrinkle and deform, like something out of a horror movie, before failing to function altogether as you die? If, for instance, that “grace” depends on denial of what’s really happening…thinking of my age as x number of years “young,” for example…count me out.

Ain’t nuthin’ purdy IMO, let alone graceful, about my smile…for instance…that could benefit so very much from a second set of adult teeth coming in. (Would that evolution would catch up to our current life expectancy!) Okay, there are dentures and cosmetic dentistry and you can cake your wrinkles with makeup, but ultimately it’s hard for me to think “graceful” in connection with someone tottering down the sidewalk with a cane held by a shaking, liver-spotted, gnarled hand. I don’t know that “grace” is the right word, or that “aging gracefully” is something any of us can realistically achieve.

Maybe, instead of “grace,” we should try to attain “calm.” Aging with calm acceptance, firmly centered in who we are after so many decades of living, is something I can imagine. And maybe, in the end, that’s what’s really meant by “aging gracefully.”

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