I feel a disturbance in the force…things are beginning to shift. Change is coming. In the UK we have AONR ( Age of No Retirement) that is working with older people and companies to “develop prototype programs designed to smash age barriers: to define “retirement” and “seniors” differently and to give older people a voice in new-product development.”
“The reality is that those who live longer are increasingly seeking work, not only to generate income but for a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Many people don’t want to simply retire and garden for 30 years. They’re looking for more.”-Jonathan Collie MD
Then in the US we have a new book by Ashton Applewhite , “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism.” It is on my list to order from B&N.
I agree with Ashton Applewhite that we can feel alone in facing our ageing and that it would be very positive to have a dialogue about our experiences. At any rate, I am happy to see more light shown on this topic.
And I found this blog: The Radical Age Movement: Confronting Ageism. I enjoyed reading their posts. I like their New Year’s Resolution:
- Continue to confront ageism wherever we see it
Create language that honors longetivity
Increase pride in aging
Work toward building an interdependent society
Speak up against age prejudice in our workplace, healthcare, the media, and among our friends and family
This movement is long overdue. I will not be sorry to see the negative stereotypes about ageing finally put in their proper place, (the trash).
There is so much advice readily available from experts about how to live out the later years of our lives. I have seen different estimates of how long of a time we have left after say the traditional retirement age of 65. Wikipedia posted longevity charts from WHO and the UN that vary slightly. I noted that in poorer countries the life expectancy is much lower, closer to our traditional retirement age. So this third stage of life is a privilege of richer countries. And we are not all guaranteed those extra years.
One post I read said we should fill up our remaining years with giving back in volunteer work, others advice second acts, and new careers. I think this has to be a very individual decision. After all, it is the last years of YOUR life, not the experts lives. And you should be able to decide what to do with it and not feel guilty about it either. I liked this post by Dr. Bill Thomas, ( I know another expert), who says we are obsessed with this prolonged adulthood in our society that starts with trying to make adults out of our children when they’re still kids and ends with wanting to prolong middle age to forever because we think old age is terrible. Here is part of what he said:
“we find that older people are increasingly judged, and not according to the merits of age. Instead, the worth of an older person is determined by his or her ability to emulate a highly effective adult. People who still drive, still work, still run marathons and who still look, act and feel like young people are deemed to be successful. Those who can’t still do those things are… failures.”
I am in the process of looking at ageing and determining what I hope my remaining years to be. I have to look at my own abilities, passions, and limitations. I need to set my own course with what feels right to me. I have to know within myself that I have value even if I don’t run marathons, or look like my younger self.
Follow the trends,
follow the crowd
or follow yourself
for crying out loud
or Haute Couture?
Fabulous Fashionistas by Sue Bourne on You Tube:
You can join the fun on |Lindaghill| Stream of Consciousness Saturday.
This is heartbreaking to think about that there are older people in America who need this kind of help. But I am glad there are agencies such as National Council on Aging that will help. According to NCOA:
“Many adults over 55 need help paying for prescription drugs, health care, utilities, and other basic needs. There are over 2,000 federal, state and private benefits programs available to help. But many people don’t know these programs exist or how they can apply.”
Thank you to the EngAGE blog for sharing this information and I am passing it on. If you or someone you know needs this help you can go to NCOA to find out how to apply for benefits.
“A label is a mask life wears. We put labels on life all the time. “Right,” “wrong,” “success,” “failure,” “lucky,” “unlucky,” may be as limiting a way of seeing things as “diabetic,” “epileptic,” “manic-depressive,” or even “invalid.” Labeling sets up an expectation of life that is often so compelling we can no longer see things as they really are. This expectation often gives us a false sense of familiarity toward something that is really new and unprecedented. We are in relationship with our expectations and not with life itself.”
–Rachel Naomi Remen
Rachel Naomi Remen is a doctor and author. I have read both her books several times. Sometimes I like to read them before going to sleep at night because they give me inspiration and peace. The two books I am referring to are “Kitchen Table Wisdom” and My Grandfather’s Blessing.”
Rachel struggled with her own chronic illness and still managed to get through medical school. She became a doctor when women in medicine were not often welcomed and accepted. She started out as a Pediatrician and later counseled people battling cancer. She is a member of the faculty at the University of California San Francisco Medical School. She founded the Commonweal Cancer Help Program in Northern California with Dr. Michael Lerner.
“There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy.”
― Mark Twain
We can not tell from the outside what a person’s life has been. When we reach out and talk to people we never know what we may find out. So many turn away from the elderly. Just think of all the interesting stories that are missed by not engaging with them. Stories from a long-lived life with lessons learned. Do we think they have nothing worth sharing? What can we learn from them?
“I used to think that eighty was a very old age. Now I am ninety. I do not think this any more. As long as you are able to admire and to love, you are young.”
― Pablo Casals
Pablo Casals was a world famous cellist and composer. I like this quote because I think it is true that our perception of age changes as we get older. I once had a patient I visited when I worked as a Home Health Nurse. She was 97 years old at the time. She was living in a Nursing Home and one time she said to me about her fellow residents, ” They think they’re old, but they are young. When I was their age I could do a lot of things.” The other residents were in their 80s. How do you think about age and aging?
Pablo Casals via Ishaia Gonzalez You Tube:
|Silver Threading Writer’s Quote Wednesday|