What does 'aging gracefully' mean?

July 10, 2013

What does aging gracefully mean?
What does aging gracefully mean?

When people talk about getting older, it's not uncommon for them to use the term "aging gracefully." Often, celebrities like Helen Mirren or Diane Lane are described this way, because they are beautiful older women who don't seem to be going out of their way to hold on to their youth. But, celebrities aside, how does the common woman grapple with the concept of aging gracefully when we get so many mixed messages about what it means to grow older?

Are you speaking in code?
"Aging gracefully" is often used as a euphemism. People may use the phrase to mean, "Looking old, but embracing it" or "Showing signs of aging, but still powering forward with life." In this way, the term feels almost negative or backhanded - it's the phrase we use to describe someone who isn't looking as good as they once did.

But is that the only interpretation we can affix to this term? Perhaps aging gracefully doesn't necessarily have to refer to age or appearance, but rather the attitude people have as they go through the various stages of life.

The best of both worlds
"Aging gracefully" has also been a word used to describe women who choose to grow older without undergoing any aesthetic procedures to help them maintain their looks. This perspective, however, feels a bit outdated. There was a time when plastic surgery was a taboo subject, but today, it's gained wide acceptance, because people have realized that there truly are benefits to cosmetic procedures. They can help you not only look younger, but also feel more confident.

Aging gracefully doesn't mean you have to wear your wrinkles with pride - instead, you need to do whatever is necessary to stride into your older years with confidence. For some people, this may mean simply embracing the natural signs of aging without visiting a board-certified plastic surgeon along the way. For others, it means taking steps to make your outside appearance match the way you feel on the inside. If you feel energetic and youthful internally, then there's no shame in getting a facelift, tummy tuck or breast lift to keep your body at the same level.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal needs and desires. If you are confident about getting plastic surgery, then electing to go under the knife is the most graceful choice you can make.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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