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Adventures in Retirement: Aging Gracefully. Good or Bad?

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on April 01, 2015 with No Comments

Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure

What exactly is “aging gracefully”?  I have asked that question of several people and searched online for definitions.  Most people I spoke to have no idea what it means.  Some people consider aging gracefully to mean looking attractive and healthy as a senior.  Online definitions suggest it means aging well and trying to look and feel your best.  In my opinion, it means accepting old age with grace.

Many seniors feel they are complemented when someone says they are aging gracefully.  I don’t believe I am aging gracefully so I wouldn’t feel complemented if someone said I was aging gracefully.  Let me explain.

My friend, Dave Hubinger from Crown Point, and I went to the national amateur giant slalom ski racing championships (NASTAR) a few weeks ago.  We both had health issues.  He came down with a cold and a serious upper respiratory infection.  I was still recovering from a collapsed lung from last spring and was unsuccessfully trying to deal with high-altitude ski racing.  We both suffered, but we both raced.

Neither of us did particularly well in the races, likely as a result of our health issues.  However, nothing could stop us from competing.  Is that “aging gracefully”?  I don’t think so.  I think we were fighting, kicking and scratching, and struggling for every sliver of life we could find.  We don’t accept old age.  We know we may not win, but we will never stop trying to defeat the aging process.

Aging gracefully, or accepting the limitations of age with grace, may be easy, it may even be smart, but it is not for me.  I plan to continue struggling to get every minute of activity and excitement out of life that I can get.  It certainly won’t be graceful, and it will be a fight of battle of tooth and nail, but I will never give up.

I like to see this struggle as a positive thing, but aging gracefully is a positive thing too.  Some of us enjoy the struggle that trying to defeat the aging process involves.  Others like to enjoy the process of aging gracefully.  It is a matter of choice.

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About Bill Leavitt

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit RetirementLifesGreatestAdventure.com for more information.

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