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A Nod to Aging Gracefully


Person sitting on a dock staring at a lake

I watch with awe as my parents, sharp and agile, age with grace. French author Jules Renard once wrote: “It’s not how old you are, it’s how you are old.” Mom and dad have done it well. They remain active, vibrant, and engaged. Yes, they are a step or two slower, but I hope that’s my biggest concession if I am fortunate enough to reach my mid-eighties.


Time marches on at a steady pace, neither slowed nor quickened by experiences. Like a car set to cruise control, its progress advances with constancy. Youth pays it little attention. Middle age gives it begrudging notice. Seniority sets a place at the table in acknowledgment of its force.


We have modest influence over our physical relationship with aging. Diet and exercise help. But we cannot pull its reins in. It proceeds with or without our consent. Yet we can control our mental rapport with growing older. Getting consumed by physicality and frailties is, for lack of a better word, unhealthy. My wife and I had brunch with some old friends recently. We laughed with appreciation when we realized two hours had passed before our conversation devolved into a brief discussion of our various ailments.