What Becomes Possible when Getting Older?
What does CONSCIOUS AGEING mean? This question was underlying our broadcast series where we had conversations with more than 20 people, either in one-to-one conversation or in small groups.
The term Aging (or AGEING as we usually spell it) seems to suggest “old age” or “getting old” but, when you look closely, then you find that it doesn’t mean either one necessarily. “Ageing” means just “getting older”, and this process begins right after birth. Nonetheless, the habitual use of the word is so strong that, even we talked mainly about the later years in our human life, and mostly with people over 50 — with a few exceptions, of course.
A Review of the Conscious Ageing Series
Looking backward it seems to me very clear that the older our contributors were, the more they were interested in the topic. The youngest participant in her 30ies could relate best to the concept of AGEISM which affects practically everybody who is not the “right” age for the thing they are attempting to do. This can be the 14-year-old software developer who cannot open a bank account on his own, the singer who at age 40 tries to enter the profession or the 60-year-old woman who dresses like a teenager. All forms of rejection or belittling are an expression of ageism and, as mentioned, does not necessarily only refer to older people who, in their own right, have to face an enormous bunch of prejudice and denigration in our youth-oriented culture.
Getting Older — Getting Happier?
What came out very clear as well is the fact that a completely new generation of “elders” is living in the (western?) world presently. In times when our grandparents were raised, people were really old at 60, dying at 70 or even earlier was normal and when you made it into your 80’s then you were an admirable exception. People in their later years usually spent their time with being bored, waiting for death, taking care for their illnesses, being resentful of children and the younger generations for their obvious lack of respect — and therefore their own loss of being seen as the most important authority in the family.
Either time never changed and everybody played their roles to previously laid out plans, or, in the 20th century when the old order broke down, older people couldn’t find meaning for their lives anymore through social status and were left alone in uncertainty and helplessness.
Ageing in a New World
This has widely changed now, probably due to the liberation movements f the 60’s which is when today’s older people grew up. We have learned that we are worthy individuals and that we do not depend completely on what society prescribes for our identity. We tried that out in our early days — and that has shifted the world. So why not NOW too when we are older and we don’t want to live a life pre-designed by our contemporary society?
This was the Basso Ostinato, the underlying rhythm in all the conversations we had with our guests: “There must be a different way — and I, myself, do my best to find out how and to co-create a different future, for myself and for others”
A Short Summary of the Conversations
The oldest people in our series all affirmed that with age they have become happier and more satisfied than they ever had been before. The most moving conversation about that probably was the one with father and son Foster (The Secret Promise of Aging watch here). The direct transmission of the joy of life in older years is present in Integral Life Practices for Any Age? by Monika Frühwirth watch here) and the never ending desire to learn new things by Lowell Ann Fuglsang (It’s Never Too Late to Begin your Future watch here). Last and absolutely not least our conversation with the well-known spiritual teacher Terry Patten, who led us in a practice where you can witness the transmission yourself here: Spiritual Lessons and Opportunities that Ripen with Age
Besides Terry Patten, we had other contributors talk about the inner path towards creating a different future for ourselves and others. How fascinating the unexplored possibilities we have as humans! Learn about them here: What about our POSSIBILITIES when we get older? with Jon Freeman. A similar idea is expressed by Tom Christensen: New Capacities Emerge in Our Minds as We Age
What specifically can we do as we meet our later years in life? Hans Parge gives you specific tips on how to stay healthy and “young” while ageing in Wellness and Prevention for the third half of life
Dr. Sven Werchan talks about the importance of food and its effects on the quality and duration of life in It is never too late to begin to eat the right way
The role of a healthy and vibrant sexuality is discussed by Michaela Boehm in Tantra for any Age and the importance of being in intimate relationships in the later years of life is the topic of Martin Ucik in The Later Years of Life: Shared Purpose in Love Relationships.
What to do with the additional years we have got nowadays? Here is a suggestion by Ann Roberts with Active Wisdom: What Grandparents Can Give Us and Our Children.
How to handle death? Our own or the death of people for whom we care? A still taboo topic, courageously addressed by one of our younger speakers Myste Lyn in Overcoming Fear when Facing Death.
How is “Getting Older” and “Ageing” seen in North Europe? especially in Denmark? Bettina Hartmann gives us her experience as a native, but not yet “old” Dane.
In the AGEISM section, we had a young guest who had only shortly became aware of this phenomenon: Miriam Van Groen in We are all ageist — what to do about it? And Ashton Applewhite, a well-known activist in the “Ageism” — scene who had opened our series last November with YO, IS THIS AGEIST?.
The final celebration of CONSCIOUS AGEING happened online with 11 of our guests in a 90-minute PANEL DISCUSSION. They got to know each other and the desire arose to continue with some group conversations in the future.
A big THANK YOU to our audience
We had a constant circle of live viewers, some of which took the opportunity to chat with us live after the main conversation. Most of the times our speakers were present, too, and people could ask specific questions. In other chats, people had the opportunity to give us their views and perspectives on the topic. It is always inspiring to connect with interesting people!
Become part of the CONSCIOUS AGEING DISCUSSION — regardless of your age
The first round of the CONSCIOUS AGEING series ended with a discussion among the viewers. The now concluded series will be followed up by some additions to this topic. The first one starts on May 26th, going through all June. Come and join us!
Please subscribe to our website and you will get information once or twice a month about our live events — not only on AGEING but on many other interesting topics about life and consciousness — where you are invited to participate in all possible ways. Let us know how you see that! And be part of the exploration around AGEING — you are directly and personally connected to that topic — even if you think it doesn’t apply to you (yet)! It will! — Hopefully!
Originally published at The Wisdom Factory.