I think that the last third of one’s life can be the best years. But I don’t think that happens by chance. It takes doing work on oneself, consciously. Learning to let go, to forgive oneself and others, to accept oneself and others just as we are, to stop denying that one is aging, and that one is going to die. Fun stuff!
Why would someone take on such heavy subjects willingly? Because on the other side is a life full of meaning and purpose, despite ailments; a life freer of society’s constraints than ever before.
I am no longer middle-aged. If I double my current age, I don’t expect to live that long. So, what am I? “Old” is one answer, but I don’t find that very empowering. I like Jane Fonda’s model of aging, an ever-rising path, not one that goes up and then declines. At this point I prefer the term “elder.” I look to Nature to find answers to many of my questions, and for most of humanity’s short time on Earth, “elders” have been respected members of society with active roles in their communities. That’s what I want for myself and for others.
There’s an African proverb that “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I used to want to go quickly, and I often traveled alone. Now I want to go far with my life, as far as I can. So please join me on the journey into our elderhoods.