When we say we want to age with grace, what are we visualizing?
Mobility? Erect posture? Social engagement? Pain free? Secure? Having fun? Functioning independently?
For me, I assume a certain level of competence in all areas. I picture myself with teeth, moving well enough, able to read and listen and take in new information. I see someone who has a rich social life. I see someone who is able to eat and digest food and go to the bathroom without a lot of fanfare. And – this is my particular need – I see myself free of medications, although I’m grateful they will be there for me if I need them.
We put the question to our meeting: What do you imagine when you think of aging with grace?
If it helps, speak to these areas:
Grace is an unseen force. It operates in our lives and makes good things happen. If we want to age with it, we are looking at investing in ourselves in ways that drive those good things.
Our group pretended we’re making our strategic plan for aging with grace. One of the things that came up is that there needs to be relative balance. (How likely is it that you’ll be aging well in five out of six of the areas if you come up short mentally, say, or socially, etc.) If you’re challenged in one area, say physical limitations, how would you define “good enough?”
If you want to do this with your group too, try these prompts and share once around the table with no cross talk before opening it to discussion so that each person who wants to gets a chance to speak.
What will aging with grace look like for you?
What are you doing now in your physical life to make sure that you age with grace? This might include planning for a safe place to live, meeting basic physical needs, nourishment, exercise….
How about mentally? What does aging with grace look like in terms of how your brain works? How important to you is clarity? Ability to read? Ability to crack a joke? Are you eating and exercising now to support long term mental function?
What about emotional viability? That seems to require some home work in your physical and mental life, plus nurturing your relationships. Maybe reducing toxic relationships or tasks that pull you down.
In terms of behaviors, what do you envision yourself doing? Are you behaving now toward the important people in your life in a way that supports your aging with grace?
Imagine the social creature you may be as you age with grace. Even with some other infirmities, you can be rich socially, especially if you plan for it. How will you plan for good social connection? Is there anything you need to do today, anyone you need to talk to today to head in the right direction?
And spiritually. There may be gifts awaiting you. Assuming spirituality is the reward of leading an examined life, what can you do today to create a spiritually rewarding future?