So I’ve been thinking about the phrase “growing old gracefully” lately. And I’ve decided it’s a crock.
I have no desire to grow old gracefully. The people I love and admire most are the ones who are kicking ASS while they’re growing old…joining roller derby teams at 40, teaching themselves to become mosaic artists at 50, moving to another country when they’re 70, skydiving at 80. What separates them from the people who get stuck in a rut and come home to the same TV shows night after night? It has to be a willingness to get out of your comfort zone. To embrace change. To look goofy. To BE goofy.
That’s where I think the magic happens–outside of your comfort zone. So as I head towards 50, even as MS makes my body weaker and more frail, I’ve decided to take more risks, not less. Double down on my mistakes and failures. Wear my tiara more. Look more ridiculous (my teenager would argue that’s not really possible). And rock my purple lipstick, even when my best friends tell me it makes me look like I should be floating at the bottom of the river.
Here’s the deal: the older I get, the more I suspect that our business–our real business–is to be happy today. And to help others be happy, too. I know 80-year-olds who have more enthusiasm, passion, and joy in life than some 20-year-olds. When I grow up, I’m gonna be like them. As George Burns said, “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”
And I’m going to order myself a t-shirt that says “Bad-ass on the inside.”