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How to Age Gracefully, Wisely and Cheerfully

MsDora, former teacher and counselor, is fascinated by the prospect of joyful aging. She explores and shares habits of happy seniors.

Aging gracefully is supported by virtues like gratitude, contentment and joy.

Aging gracefully is supported by virtues like gratitude, contentment and joy.

When we talk about aging gracefully, we usually focus on appearance—how relatively youthful the aging person looks. Good looks may be aided by external applications of hair dyes, face creams and skin lotions; but aging gracefully is supported more definitely by internal applications of virtues like gratitude, contentment and joy.

So, although appearance is the crowing evidence of beautiful aging, we extend our perspective of the old agers we want to become, with the use of three modifiers:

Gracefully (with dignity and elegance),
Wisely (applying the lessons we have learned),
Cheerfully (with joy and optimism).

Aging is a gift which many of our friends did not receive. We accept it joyfully and pursue its maximum benefits.

Gracefully

“This is the reason we do not give up. Our human body is wearing out. But our spirits are getting stronger every day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NLV)

For people who are mindful about aging gracefully, this quotation aptly describes the process. The hair becomes thin and gray, the face shows wrinkles and age spots, the skin gets dry and brittle, the feet get tired sooner than later, but all these changes are external. Meanwhile, the spirit inside is being replenished by an abounding supply of divine grace. So truly, as the body declines, the spirit thrives.

“This is the reason we do not give up.” Instead of complaining and fretting about the challenges of aging, we embrace them when our age makes us eligible. We adjust our diets, follow new health instructions, and accept each additional year as a continuing adventure. We look at our old photos with gratitude for the overall progress we’ve made in our lives, and we change our preference from outer to inner beauty. We smile at every change we make, until smiling becomes a habit.

We display dignity and elegance in our deportment. We wear outfits which accentuate our modesty, decency and maturity. We wear shoes which help us walk comfortably and confidently. We extend our gracefulness in maintaining homes that are inviting and hospitable. No, we're not always picture perfect, but we manage to maintain an attractive blend of maturity and passion. And the answer to how we do it is the passionate spirit inside us. It overshadows the outer signs of decline.

Maya Angelou, age 84, delivers address at Elon's University Fall Convocation.

Maya Angelou, age 84, delivers address at Elon's University Fall Convocation.

Wisely

“For the [remarkable, undeserved] grace of God … teaches us … to live sensible, upright, and godly lives [lives with a purpose that reflect spiritual maturity] in this present age.” Titus 2:11,12 (AMP)

The graceful spirit inside us influences not only our appearance, but also our attitude and actions. It helps us mature from the careless, double-minded creatures of youth to the sensible, upright citizens whom our spectators admire. We become the proof that older is wiser.

We gain much wisdom from our experiences. Yet, it helps to be considerate and discreet when we share. If we annoy listeners with information overload, we may lose their friendship. Here are few suggestions based on The Seventh Century Nun’s Prayer which will help us combine our wisdom with grace, especially in our interactions with younger people.

  • Be more open-minded and less of a know-it-all. The nun prays, “Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.”
  • Be less bossy and more willing to help: We don’t have to insist that our daughter-in-law feeds her children the way we fed ours. The children will be happier watching us help their mother than watching us fight to have her do it our way.
  • Spare the details and get to the point. When we tell a story, better shorten it to the bottom line, than lose the listeners’ interest by impressing them with all the details we know.
  • Talk more contentment and less complaints. We don’t have to report every ache we feel. Talk about the value of the lemon in the lemonade.
  • Admit mistakes. Don’t give the impression that we were always as wise as we are now. Share how we cleaned up the messes we made.
  • Give compliments, hold criticisms. Think of how often we were misunderstood. Look for and praise the good. Try to understand the unexpected.
  • Smile when memory fails. When our memory of an incident differs from what other people remember, don’t try to prove that we’re right. Laugh and remind them about something we all know for sure: we’re older.

Aging gracefully and wisely means that we model what we want to teach. Be cool. Show love and care.

Beat boredom with something new. Try Instagram.

Beat boredom with something new. Try Instagram.

Cheerfully

"A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22 AMP)

Cheerfulness (the state of being joyful and optimistic) is a choice. We can cultivate it and make it a habit. It is a tool to fight off negative emotions like disappointment, discouragement and despair. It keeps us glad instead of grumpy. Plus, the scientific research says that it benefits our physical health by decreasing our risk of heart disease, lowering our blood pressure, enabling better sleep, and reducing stress. It is “a good medicine.”

Depression “dries up the bones,” which are the structural support of our physical frame, and which naturally shrink in size and density as we age. So, whenever we find ourselves struggling to overcome negative emotions, it is in our best interest to seek help. “If you are cheerful, you feel good; if you are sad, you hurt all over." (Proverbs 17:22 CEV)

Following are a few suggestions to help offset loneliness, boredom and mindlessness. They stimulate cheerfulness and keep us ready to share the mood.

  • Be Productive. Do something you like to do. Do something for someone else. Try something new: gardening, Instagram, Chinese fried rice, painting, writing.
  • Socialize. Meet with friends in person (being careful to adhere to safety health protocols). Meet on Zoom. Chat on FaceTime. Include one or two friends younger than you are. Laugh and exchange fun ideas.
  • Exercise: Take short walks. Swing your arms and move your hips to your favorite music. Workout with Sit and Be Fit videos on YouTube.
  • Intercede for Others. In addition to your personal devotional, schedule prayer time to intercede for others. Record the prayer requests and check with the requestor occasionally for progress on the matter.
  • Practice Kindness. What are you hoarding (though you may not call it that)? Search your dresser drawers, your closets, your kitchen cupboards for new or good-as-new items and give to someone else who could put it to immediate use. Carry a brooch, or scarf, or fancy hair clip in your purse and offer it to someone who compliments your graceful aging.

Be graceful. Be wise. Be Cheerful. Let’s live our best lives, and the best of life will follow us as we age.

References

Athulya, Staying Cheerful While Aging (11/21/2018)

Mayo Clinic, Healthy Aging (5/19/2020)

Mount Angus Parish, 17th Century Nun's Prayer (5/18/2014)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 12, 2021:

You're welcome, Nithya. We might have to practice being cheerful, and if we choose to, it will pay off. It is worth the effort.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 12, 2021:

Aging with grace and accepting the way we change physically and mentally all the while being cheerful is tough. Your words of wisdom will surely guide the way. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful article.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 12, 2021:

Thanks, Tamarajo. Ever since I came across that prayer, I've been trying to heed that advice. It takes practice. God is our constant help.

Tamarajo on October 12, 2021:

I had to cringe at The Seventh Century Nun’s Prayer pointers. I noticed I was guilty of all. I appreciate this most helpful and useful corrective advice. The whole article is beautiful.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 05, 2021:

Devika, thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate your comment.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 05, 2021:

Hello MsDora I Aging is a process and everyone ages gracefully in their own time. I believe life is meant to be enjoyed no matter age. This is an enjoyable read and lots to ponder on here about aging. You share your advise to all.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 05, 2021:

Thank you, MG. You're right. With time, everyone ages. Best to you, going forward.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on October 04, 2021:

Very topical article as aging is an inevitable process with time. Nice share.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 04, 2021:

Thanks, Denise. I agree that laughter is the best. At least one belly laugh a day, they say.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 04, 2021:

What great advice. I love the cure for hoarding by giving little things to people who compliment my aging gracefully. These are all things we need to remember. Laughter is the best.

Blessings,

Denise

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 04, 2021:

Hi, John. Thanks for the affirmation. The memory can be tricky, but the trickier it is, the more opportunity it gives us to laugh. More laughter to you and your wife!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 04, 2021:

What a wonderful article with very wise tips, MsDora. This one I especially relate to "Smile when memory fails. When our memory of an incident differs from what other people remember, don’t try to prove that we’re right. Laugh and remind them about something we all know for sure: we’re older." My memory differs from my wife's a lot haha. I've learned not to try to prove a point, and that my memory isn't always right.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Way to go, Carolyn. Enjoy your music and your younger friends. Thank you for sharing.

Carolyn Fields from South Dakota, USA on October 03, 2021:

Wonderful suggestions. I try to make friends with people who are younger than I am. Right now I'm in Civic Orchestra, which includes many college-age musicians. It really changes my perspective. Love your writing!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Thank you, Maria. Your question made me smile because I remember the movie "Love Comes Softly" in which the stepdaughter asks the stepmom how she got to be so big and know nothing.I appreciate your comment.

Maria Logan Montgomery from Coastal Alabama, UsA on October 03, 2021:

This is great!! How did you get to be so smart? Everyone should take this advice. When I was much younger I heard someone say if a girl or young woman wants to grow to be someone who is considered to be a sweet old lady that everyone loves, she must be sweet and kind in her youth -- not bitchy and mean in younger years. I love this article. Thanks.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Kalpana. It's my pleasure to hear from you. I appreciate your encouragement.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Hi, Bill. From what I see, you're all or it--graceful, wise and cheerful. It's an honor to know and learn from you.

Kalpana Iyer from India on October 03, 2021:

Great tips on how to age gracefully! Not many know how to do it. I shall be mindful of the points you have given. Thank you so much for sharing, Dora!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 03, 2021:

Well, I'm aging cheerfully. I don't know about wiser or gracefully. :) Loved the spirit of this article, my friend. Thank you for sharing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Louise, have a good day too. Didn't miss you. Something went wrong, the message said. Thanks for your encouraging comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Thanks, Brenda. Aging is my present status, so I'm set to learn all I can about it. I appreciate your comment..

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Thanks, Flourish. Your comment are always so beautiful. I appreciate you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

You're welcome, Rosina. You're still young. Take it all in. Hope it helps prepare fir your later life.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Linda, thanks for sharing your move and also your invaluable insight. "Worry doesn't change anything--it just increases those wrinkles." Stay "chill" going forward. Best to you and your husband, and enjoy your new life.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Thanks, Pamela.I appreciate your encouragement. We must make the best of our days.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 03, 2021:

I like this one. Gracefully getting older while keeping our wisdom.

Being happy does help one to feel better.

Getting rid of things you don't need or use is a grear idea too.

Nice write.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Peggy, embracing each day seems like the perfect thing to do. Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on October 03, 2021:

MsDora, I think that is very true what you say, and I love the quotes too. It is true, indeed, to try new things! Thankyou MsDora. I hope you're having a lovely day.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 03, 2021:

This was simply lovely. I liked especially your remark about finding value in the lemon in the lemonade.

Rosina S Khan on October 03, 2021:

There are good advice and lessons in your article, which we all could take advantage of. Loved all of it including the quotes. Thanks for sharing, Dora.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on October 03, 2021:

What an uplifting message, and a great reminder. My husband and I are in the midst of moving--downsizing and relocating to another town. Many people (inspectors, utility hookups, meter readers, etc.) were in and out of the house last Friday, while we were moving in boxes. One young man, a technician for the security system, commented that despite the chaos, we seemed to relaxed (he said "chill.") I thought that was funny. What point is there in getting rattled?

Honestly, I find very little any more that upsets me. I've not that much time left on this earth (20 years perhaps?), why send any of those precious moments in turmoil? Worry doesn't change anything--it just increases those wrinkles.

Thank you for a lovely start to this Sunday. May you have a blessed week.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2021:

This is a wonderful article about aging gracefullu, Ms Dora.

Aging gracefully with dignity and elegance is so important. Aging wisely and cheerfully also so important. I really like all your points in this article.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 03, 2021:

These are all great ideas about aging gracefully. We cannot stop the aging process, but we can embrace each day as it comes and be grateful. Wishing for you a beautiful day today!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Misbah, you're so young! You're the age I was when I got married. Stay beautiful. Stay faithful to your creed. And may aging, when it comes, be a refreshing breeze to you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Thanks, Glen. I think that aging is a gift to enjoy. We show our gratitude by embracing it.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Thanks, Heidi for the congrats and the comment. I appreciate your encouragement. Good day, good week to you, too.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Thanks, Peg. You can see the entire prayer, if you Google it. I read it often.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Glenna, thanks for your encouraging comment. It means much to me, coming from you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Mary, you're doing the right thing. Good friendship is an important asset to happy aging. Best to you and your friend going forward.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 03, 2021:

Liz, I agree. It makes good aging look effortless when we focus on our inner strength and beauty.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Rebels. on October 03, 2021:

Hello, MsDora.

As usual, this is a lovely hub. I always look forward to reading your hubs. I'm 29 years old, but I believe I've learned a lot in such a short time. I also believe that there is much more to learn. I always try to tackle situations wisely; sometimes I fail, but I always try my best to apply the lessons I've learned.

It sounds like good advice to age gracefully, wisely, and cheerfully. Thank you very much for sharing!! Have a wonderful Sunday!

Blessings and Love!!!

Glen Rix from UK on October 03, 2021:

An excellent positive outlook and good advice about overcoming the challenges of growing older.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on October 03, 2021:

So agree! By the way, in case I didn't mention it before, congrats on your Hubbie award. Well deserved. Have a beautiful day!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on October 03, 2021:

I love these guidelines for aging gracefully, particularly the one the nun prays. What good advice.

Glenna on October 03, 2021:

These aging gracefully tips are great and I appreciate them.

Thank you Dora for this wholistic approach of aging. The comments, the quotes and advise are wise and I hope everyone who reads this will adopt some of these values; I certainly will.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 03, 2021:

These are wise ideas. Ageing gracefully for me, at this point, is taking the steps towards spiritual growth. I fail, but I take it up again and I have a friend I regularly share with, so we encourage each other.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 03, 2021:

This article contains much wisdom. I have also noticed that for those who age in the way you recommend, their attitude is reflected in their appearance. These positive character traits tend to translate into a softer and more attractive appearance.

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