Here’s the final point I want to make in my TEDxSF talk. We all know that childhood and the coming-of-age in adolescence play an important cultural function in preparing us for adulthood. But what is adulthood for?
Contemporary American society would have us believe that adulthood is the pinnacle of life. That the more frenzied our approach to doing and getting and achieving the better. Even in retirement, if you don’t remain as active and busy in your leisure time, if you don’t die with your boots on, you’re considered a failure.
But what if there was more to adulthood? What if like childhood, the true purpose of adulthood was to prepare us for the most important part of our life? A part of life in which we are valued more for our wisdom, judgment and temperance, than for sheer energy, strength and ambition.
One of the most important reasons our lives so often feel out of balance is that we inhabit a world that is being run by adults, without elders supervision. We need the wise and gentle counsel of human elders as never before.
I know perfectly well that there are those who will not share my enthusiasm for aging. Others will feel that I am not being realistic about the difficulties that the aging of the Post War generation will bring for our society. But our capacity for aging and our ultimate mortality have been and will remain cornerstones of our humanity.
There is life beyond adulthood. It is called ELDERHOOD and it is real, it is rich, it is deep, it is ancient and it is meaningful. And best of all, we are all, each and every one of us, elders in the making.