Don’t get me wrong.

“Aging gracefully” is lovely. In a quiet, refined, elegant kind of way.

Which is great, if that’s “You.”

But it’s definitely not “Me.”

I was never particularly graceful when I was younger. So, why would I suddenly become that way as I age?

To me,  the term “aging gracefully” feels like a cultural corset that holds women to one tight standard.

I’d prefer to age gratefully.  To have reverence for the truth of who I am and all the changes that are taking place within and around me.

I intend to age exuberantly. Colorfully. Creatively. Bravely. Boldly.  Healthfully. Honestly. And unapologetically.

As someone who has risen up from the muck of tremendous self-doubt and fear, I’m trying to re-train my brain to celebrate the wisdom, confidence and self-love that I’ve worked like hell all these years to attain (with the therapy bills to prove it).

Older women in our society often complain about feeling invisible. But I wonder if that’s because we don’t see our own value.

What if, instead of zeroing in on the wrinkles under our eyes, we started appreciating the light within them?

What if, in choosing  to honor our experience, our wisdom and our gifts, the outside world rises up to meet our inside world?

What if, instead of just looking out there for anti-aging foods, supplements, lotions, potions and treatments,  we started cultivating a pro-aging mindset within?

But how?

Well, I’m glad you asked:

Find an aging role model.

Years ago, I was at a bridal shower, seated across from the most captivating woman ever. I was in my early thirties and she was well into her seventies. Yet, there was no one in that room I’d rather talk to.

I don’t remember her name but I’ll never forget her sparkling blue eyes, her infectious laugh, her joyous energy, her mesmerizing confidence and her boundless curiosity.  I made a mental note, over thirty years ago, that “I want to be like her someday.”

They say that “energy flows where attention goes.”

So, I say, stop focusing on old Mrs.So-and-So who’s old before her time. And go out and find yourself an ageless, cageless muse who inspires you to see getting older as a privilege. Not a curse.

Age consciously. And you-niquely.

Instead of fearing that you’ll become a “victim of age,” why not set an intention to flourish in your own way?

Intentions are powerful things. They become the foundation of the lives we create.

Start by taking  a moment to close your eyes.  Take a few deep breaths into your heart. Now, imagine, in your mind’s eye, how you hope to look, live and feel 10 or 20 years from now.

Just like I did in the beginning of this post, name and claim those qualities that you want to embody in your later years.

If the word “graceful”  resonates with you, then by all means, choose to age gracefully. If not, give yourself permission to age any damn way you please.

Simply write on a piece of paper: “I intend to age vibrantly, victoriously, loudly, lovingly, or ________ (whatever speaks to your heart).

It’s especially powerful to read your intentions aloud to someone and/or to burn them outside in the moonlight.

Be a dragonfly.

Did you know that dragonflies spend most of their lives stuck in the muck at the bottom of a pond—up to four years?

Then, one seemingly random day, they crawl out of the pond and into the sunlight. And right then and there, their glorious wings unfurl. It turns out they were growing all along.

These magical creatures remind us that no matter how stuck we’ve been in our own muck, it’s never too late to soar.

So, what is it that you’ve always longed to do?  Maybe today’s the day you’ll take one little step toward giving  your heart wings.

Speaking of which, it would give my heart wings if you’d share your feelings on this age-old subject.

After all, when one of us has the courage to speak our truth, it lifts all of our spirits.