This week I am attending a conference called “The Transforming Aging Summit”. It is a three day extravaganza of lectures being given by experts in the field of aging. So far, I’ve been very impressed. I would like to share with you some of the nuggets that have come out of my attendance.
The first lecture I heard was on Positive Aging and and led by Harry Moody an accomplished author in this area. His entire focus was on how we can transform our thinking about aging. The three steps to successful aging are success, productivity and consciousness. Success equates to being connected to others,and productivity to being useful and needed. The area of consciousness I find very intriguing. So many people as they reach those milestone birthdays are in total denial. Gloria Stienem was known for saying, “I am 70. This is what 70 looks like.” Moody talks about how to helping people overcome denial is the first step in overcoming denial. He touches on how people need to be curious about the unexpected and make it a challenge to change some old habits; “train the gaze inwards and look at all parts of ourselves.”
Another topic he brings up is spiritual eldering or conscious eldering. This he believes refers to spiritual growth and is not for everyone. Instead, GRATITUDE is more important! We need to take a look at the whole picture as we grow older and think about what we are doing now to leave our figurative footprint for others to enjoy. There were several quotes in his lecture that summarize this point:
“It’s in the shadows that we see growth”
“Aging is the school of nobody ness”
Lastly, a wonderful poem by Emily Dickenson:
“I’m nobody. Who are you? Are you nobody too?”
The lecture moved on to discuss the ways in which society views aging. The question was posed whether there will be a shift in attitudes or will this population be outliers? It’s an interesting question since 8,000 BOOMERS TURN 65 EVERY DAY IN AMERICA!!!!
This is what is commonly referred to as the demographic earthquake!
Hopefully, we will age in an optimistic way and not a burdensome one. Moody’s theory is if more people age consciously we will be better accepted by younger generations and help bridge the generations. I would like to take it a step further and posit that we can be an example to younger people on now to let go of the fear of aging and embrace this stage as just another part of life; not the downhill slide that is a common perception.
Researchers have found that by looking inward ones health and well being I proves. Moody mentions to begin with simple things close to home. Begin by paying attention to those in your immediate surroundings. He believes “collectively we can change the world.”
I’d like to end by providing some quotes that I think are meaningful.
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible”. Dali Llama
“Dedicate your remaining days to seeing the world as a better place. When you see it as better it becomes a better place.”
One last thought – What obstacles stand in the way of “living consciously?” The answer is believing it’s not possible!! How can we overcome this thought? By flexing your thought patterns to erase the impossibilities!
Remember. Living consciously is one more way of growing old with gusto!