Most readers know that I endorse a developmental perspective on age and aging. Here are a few of the data points that led me to hold that position.
1) From a strictly biological perspective, we can see that aging begins in our late 20’s.
2) The biological changes related to aging are tightly integrated and highly coordinated.
3) We often find evidence of growth in age when we take the time to seek it out.
4) Growth gives meaning to life and a life without meaning is not worth living.
Our culture relentlessly undermines our capacity to grow in midlife and beyond with a single, powerful and terribly damaging equation.
AGING = DECLINE
This is what we are told and, for most of us, this is what we believe without thinking.
If I had to summarize the whole of the pro-aging movement in a single expression, it would be this…
AGING = GROWTH
Pro-aging is, by necessity, counter-cultural. It asks us to challenge conventional wisdom of our time.
We all know that the term “coming of age” refers to the bumptious passage out of childhood and into adulthood. It means– “growing up.”
What if we are actually able to “come of age” not once but many times. What if we are meant to reimagine our lives again and again?
Such a prospect is both daunting and liberating. It would mean that we have many chances to get this thing called life— right. The pro-aging community is dedicated to fostering an ongoing process of ongoing growth and development and normalizing this type of exploration within the broader culture.
Coming of Age is exciting, scary, rewarding and risky and we deserve to do it more than once. The young among us are beginning a journey that should encourage them to come of age many times. The adults among us should all have the opportunity to outgrow adulthood and enter into and explore— life beyond adulthood.