As I reflect upon the improbability of my ripening, I often turn with delight and inspiration to the life and death of Nelson Mandela. Mandela taught us that giving the self, once it has ripened, is elder wisdom, and the apotheosis of maturation.
When I was a toddler, I used to sit for hours on the floor under my maternal grandmother’s frame of stretched cloth and look up to watch her sew beads and spangles onto fabrics that became wedding gowns, banners, flags, altar cloths, and other decorative pieces.
Our relationship with aging can remain as a loving friendship throughout our lives when we understand that it’s a cumulative experience that provides us with an ever-changing variety of psychological and spiritual gifts –– if we are open to anticipating and accepting them.
A great way to start this piece would be to say, “I haven’t much to say about this topic,” and leave it at that. But, I’m not that humble. I am, in that regard very much an elder-in-training.
The deterioration-decline meme that defines aging in our culture originates in a narrow perception of the lifespan that is blind to the priceless assets we accrue as we add years to our lives.
It seems that one of the tasks of we elders is to break through our culture’s collective mass blindness and to make ourselves visible. In doing so, we take care of ourselves, and we help awaken the human world to its own potential, which it cannot see right now.
As I’ve aged, and gotten a lot more experience under my belt, my attitude about reactivity has changed, but I still find this facet of being human difficult.
In the art of improvisational quilting, imperfection is essential in order to show that things are handmade, to show the soul in them. As in life, the imperfection is the beauty, the meaning, the uniqueness.
At town hall meetings and in media interviews, a continuing question for Senator Bernie Sanders has been whether he is too old to be President. So far Bernie has yet to directly answer the question.
Wisdom can appear anytime, in the most surprising ways, so you have to be ready and looking for it.
At the BBC website last week, Emma Jones spent some time surveying what may be the last film taboo, sex scenes with old people.
There is an actualization of self that can take place, in the later years, that brings happiness, fulfillment, and most importantly, the kind of unique perspective that can make hope a real thing. I call this phenomenon “arrival”, and if you keep reading you’ll see why.
Based on the organic structure of a tree, this activity is a fun and revealing way to explore the influences and inspirations in one’s life and how they are transformed into meaningful passions and productive actions.
This Fourth of July lets declare independence from ageism! It won’t be an easy revolution. Like the colonial British Empire, ageism won’t roll over without a fight.
Being in the way used to be a slur that was aimed at old people. I intend to turn it into a calling, a chance to be true to what matters, a personal responsibility.
Here are three analog habits that are simple and low-tech and reflect values that worked well in the past and can still apply today.
When my mother reached the age of 100, I had to place her in a nursing home.
If we are to discover who we truly are, during this Great Age of Disruption, we must all stand toe-to-toe with our demons – imagined or real.
Any elder, regardless of income, physical and/or cognitive ability, level of education, or geographic location can make a productive difference in the way all of us function as a culture.
Dick and Jane have now reached elderhood. What scenarios are they living or want to live? In what ways are they being held back by the restrictive stories that society insists on telling about them?