I was recently asked to lecture on the art of growing old gracefully. Boy were they barking up the wrong tree.
I accepted the challenge. I figured it was an opportunity to enlighten my audience and get paid for it. Nice work if you can get it.
I shared with them the bittersweet truth: there isn’t much in life that should be lived gracefully. Not by a long shot.
I’m NOT here to complain about the aging process. Anyone over 50 knows the perils aging brings to the table.
I’m here to tell you that it is a pretty fabulous gift to be able to grow older. I have known friends and family who have not been awarded the privilege. As they say: it’s better than the alternative.
Would I rather be a vibrant, sassy 61 year old, or be in an urn on a mantle? Exactly!
Life is rarely graceful. It is loud, messy, and emotional. Filled with highs and lows, it’s a crapshoot of noise, joy, sadness, failure, grief, achievement, love, hate and dying.
Childbirth, lovemaking, marital discussions, life’s hellos and goodbyes are all done with remarkable energy, passion and resilience. Graceful? No. Beautiful? Yes.
As I get older, life seems to get more intense as I relax myself around the holding of it. Probably because I have a greater understanding that it won’t last forever. Making the living of my years all the more important.
I choose to live my life out loud. Screw graceful.
Let us all say what we feel, do what we think, stand up for our beliefs, love with wild abandon, cry out loud, hug it out and take it all in. Because we know this is our only shot, and it is, for me, at best half over.
Graceful plays a part in my life when it comes to tolerance, acceptance, patience and love. And forgiving. There seems to be a lot of forgiving in these years past.
This is how I live my life now. I didn’t always, but I wish I had.
My wish for you is to stop tip-toeing around your life. Be big, be grand, and be loud and messy. Be happy! And when it’s your birthday, get a little cake on your face.
Grace be damned!
Happy Birthday to me!
mel glenn - I think part of the trick to manage the years is to stay feisty.
Like you do. Grace Schmace. You have to be passionate. I like your message here that we should be graceful for even reaching our ages. (Pity the poor sick child). Keep battlin’ tiger.
It’s the good fight.
Tammy - Feisty is good, Mel. LOVE your comment: Grace Schmace! Brilliant! I think I want to be just like YOU when I grow up!! Always fighting the good fight! Thanks for being here, Mel. Love you for it!
Carol Cassara - Helping smush leftover birthday cake into your face…you GO, girl!
Roberta Yates - I love life ! Always have something to look forward to! I’m never bored . Cherish the past, LIVE today, dream tomorrow !! Xx
Stephanie Weaver - Great post. I loved this line: “as I relax myself around the holding of it.”
Kathy Gottberg - Graceful be damned! Screw Graceful! Graceful is BORING! Hope you shared that ungracefully with the group you spoke to!
Suerae Cobbs Stein - HAPPY BIRTHDAY to a grand, messy, honest, sassy, fun, gorgeous, live-out-loud, amazing woman!!! This is a great post and one I hope to live by. 🙂
Carole Searcy Milligan - I have this poster on my wall:
Say something silly
Laugh ’til it hurts
Take a risk
Sing out loud
Rock the boat
Shake things up
Flirt with disaster
Buy something frivolous
Color outside the lines
Cause a scene
Get carried away
Have a great day
The poster reminds me life is for living. I retired from my company after 29 years, and haven’t sat around. I worked other jobs, and took online classes, and now have my own company to promote natural health for pets. Sure, I got some creaky joints and some aches. But I still have plenty of battery life in this almost 62 year old body. Thanks for sharing your fire, passion and lust for life with us. Wishing you lots of birthday cake to get on your face!
Joan Cooper - I like the comment of a young man who died before he should have – he had a T-shirt that said: “It isn’t the duration, it’s the donation. ”
My T-shirt says: ” Don’t call me old……call me lucky.”
May we all give everything we’ve got before checking out.
Tammy - Joan, what a LOVELY offering. YES … may we all give everything we’ve got before checking out! Amen to that and so well said!!
Tam Warner Minton - Well said. Being graceful has never been my forte!
Kim Tackett - I love this: I choose to live my life out loud. Screw graceful.
I think that’s one of the gifts of age, that we are comfortable with ourselves, however we show up!
Lois Alter Mark - I’m so with you. I’ve never been graceful and am certainly not going to start now!
Ande - Goddess Tammy!
A BEAUTIFUL post filled with delicious, messy, joy-filled advice for any age – thank you Love!
Living out Loud and Breaking the Rules are two of my fave “messy mottoes” to live by…
MUAH & LOVE!
Tammy - Mine either, Tam! I’ve always longed to be graceful and demure. Just not in the cards for me. It’s all so boring!
Tammy - Thanks, Kim. It feels marvelous to be 61! And, you’re right! Age gives us the wisdom to know the obvious that escapes us in our youth. And I just love that!
Tammy - I wouldn’t have a clue how to live gracefully. I laughed so hard when I heard the original voicemail that wanted to hire me to speak on the subject. I think I surprised them big time. AND, I got asked back? Will wonders (and the truth) never cease!
Walker Thornton - You tell ’em, Tammy. I’m right there with you! Gracefully implies that it’s going to be awkward, when actually I think growing old, at least at this juncture, is pretty easy! And, fun.
Tammy - So happy you liked it, Ande! The one thing I have learned about life is that it has no rules. It is a beautiful mess. Just like me (giggle)! Thank you, my darling, for being here for me! I adore you and appreciate you!
Tammy - Thanks, Walker! The whole aging thing gets easier every day. I’m thrilled to be 61. Thrilled! I also like myself a LOT more than I did in my 40’s. It’s all so rewarding in a way. Grace has pity little to do with life. I call on it when I need it and am happy that it has been there for me. As for living gracefully … I think NOT.
Ruth Curran - Here’s to be vibrant and sassy ’til death due us part! Love your attitude and fire with a smile!
Helene Cohen Bludman - Love your positive attitude, Tammy! Aging can be filled with angst, but as you say, it’s better than the alternative. Long life is truly a gift to be cherished.
Tammy - Love that, Ruth …. ’til death do us part! When I was young I wanted so much to be graceful like Audrey Hepburn. Damn. As I got older I found pity little use for grace in real life. Who knew?!
Doreen Mcgettigan - I really needed to read this today, lately I’ve been feeling guilty that I am still here.
I’m 2 minutes late but Happy Happy Birthday and best wishes for a blessed year!
Chloe Jeffreys - I, for one, have always despised the aging gracefully bullshit. What is that anyway? Can we women do one single solitary thing in this life that isn’t getting measured against some abstract, unachievable standard?
Chellie Campbell - I love your post! There are so many examples of women becoming successful entrepreneurs after forty: Louise Hay started her publishing business Hay House when she was 58, Mary Kay Ash started Mary Kay Cosmetics when she was 45. I started my workshop business when I was 42, published my first book “The Wealthy Spirit” when I was 54, my second “Zero to Zillionaire” when I was 58, and my third “From Worry to Wealthy” comes out next year at the lovely young age of 66. Harry Bernstein, who published his first book at age 96 and then three more before passing away at 101, said, “My 90s were the most productive years of my life.” If it wasn’t too late for us, it’s not too late for any of you!
Adriana Kraft - Walt Whitman said it – Do not go gentle into that good night. My dad (who lived to 101) never stopped saying “it’s better than the alternative.” Excellent post!
Tammy - Such fabulous points, Chellie! When I turned 50 I fancied myself as a wanna-be writer. I penned a book called “Single Past Fifty Now What?”. It was picked up and published. I now earn a very comfy living writing, blogging and speaking about it. Proof that if you dream it you can be it. Age is irrelevant. Passion, vision, guts and courage are essential. Thanks SO much for sharing, Chellie!
Tammy - I love Whitman’s quote and couldn’t agree with it more! Thanks for bringing it to the forefront! I’m betting your dad was a pretty awesome guy! So appreciate the sharing!
Carol Cassara - I don’t mind the forgiving so much. It’s taught me a lot. And so has living out loud. You go, girl! It does beat being in the urn!
Tammy - Thanks, Carol! Pretty much everything beats the urn. Well, almost. So appreciate the read AND the comment!