April 23, 2014 Edition

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Growing old 'gracefully'

Vivian Heyl
Staff Writer

"I just want to grow old gracefully." I wonder who came up with this as a worthwhile way to spend the downhill slide into old age?

Somehow, I can't imagine any guy I know saying this or even thinking about growing old in this manner. It's not impossible I guess, but I'm betting it's a woman thing. Sometimes I picture these women pirouetting through their 80s in a tutu.

This is not how I expect old age to play out for me. I have always said my middle name is not Grace.

I am prone to making mistakes, taking wrong turns and getting lost. I will probably stumble my way through old age just as I stumbled through my youth and middle age.

I decided to search the web to find the source of this graceful ideology, but though many were credited with expressing the desire, no one stood out as the purveyor for this method for aging.

To be fair, I admit maybe I just don't understand what aging has to do with being graceful. I think I have a pretty good idea about age so I looked up the definition of graceful to learn how the two words relate to each other.

The first definition of graceful, according to Webster, is to move in a smooth and attractive way. I confess I didn't see much hope for this to be an answer for a woman with two left feet.

The second definition of graceful is a smooth and pleasing shape. Nowhere did it say anything about wrinkles and sagging body parts so this definitely doesn't apply to me.

The third definition is polite and kind. Let's try it out, "I just want to grow old politely and kindly." It sounds good in theory but I must confess it really doesn't sound all that exciting. I think I might even prefer the tutu to this. It's not that I have anything against being polite or kind but the maxim lacks zip.

I have serious objections to being told I am entering my golden years or the inference that snow on the roof means senile in the attic. I do want to grow old, but not gracefully, or with plastic surgery and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to sweeten up to my acerbic personality.

No, I would prefer to grow old in a slightly more adventurous manner than graceful implies. I need a word that has some excitement but not too much excitement, some pizzazz but not too much pizzazz.

I believe I want to grow old audaciously. It may turn out that I'm not audacious enough to carry it off but for right now it seems better than trying to squeeze myself into a tutu.

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