At the molecular level, we may not age gracefully; that is, we may not follow a continuous, linear downward slope. Instead, we may fall precipitously after we lose control of our exquisitely balanced anti-aging programs, sometime in our 50s. These findings, derived from a study of tissue-coding and noncoding RNA, may help explain why human disease burden increases so sharply from the sixth decade of life onward. They may also lead to therapies that enhance longevity, provided the natural termination of protective gene expression patterns does not indicate that they have outlived their usefulness.