What is Elderhood, but your big chance to be AUTHENTIC?
To let your Freak Flag fly. To come out of whatever closet you’re in.
Or if you’re already out - to spread the gospel of the True Self.
BUT - do you have what it takes to be an Elder?
So we’re all coming from different places, as we approach our mid-life, whether that’s 50 or 60 or more, and yet we’re all facing a similar question - what are we going to make of our future? Maybe we’ve accomplished great things, maybe we’ve done a long career haul, maybe we’ve hopped from position to position, field to field, maybe we’ve spend much of adulthood raising a family - but wherever we’re coming from, the same questions appear. Who have I become? And what am I going to do with it? Where can I grow from here? What thwarted desires are rumbling at the gate? What visions have yet to be realized?
I met a phenomenal man recently - Dr. Bill Thomas (See my video interview with him here.) Thomas is a geriatrician who after 16 years calls himself an ambassador from Elderhood, and he raises an interesting theory: that we’ve over-extended and over-valued adulthood. Meaning that our generation, the almighty Boomers, have turned the productive strengths of adulthood into the overarching virtue for our entire American society. And he sees this drive - to being ever faster, more efficient, more productive - as a central problem to our condition today. It’s in emphasizing speed and efficiency above all else that has led to the sacrifice of other, more lasting virtues like family, community, and our planetary home.
But… he believes, as does Realize Magazine, that if we can seize the idea, and reinvigorate the concept of Elderhood, there may be hope.
Okay, before you all begin to shudder - here’s the deal. Elders are leaders, are the guiding forces of their tribes, are respected beings whose wisdom and experience bring balance and direction to culture. And yet that term has been diminished in our society; the concept appears in concepts like Eldercare or in lame old chestnuts, like “Respect your elders!” shouted in wavering voices by geezers waving canes.
But this is where our generation is going to make a shift. We’re going to seize the day and prove to our nation that there is great power in aging, and we intend to use it for good.
Now for Bill Thomas, one of the purviews of the Elder is the right to go slow… because therein lies reflection, contemplation, reason. Another purview of the Elder is to connect. To unify the generations coming up behind them. And this is an area I find filled with potential.
I personally am not ready to slow up… in a way I feel like I’m just getting started on a whole new journey with a knapsack full of ideas that have been building for a few decades. Because if it’s true that our generation has in some ways precipitated the crises that we now face, it’s also true that we can help defuse them. And that, to me, is enormously interesting.
Maybe I will turn into a geezer waving a cane... or maybe it will be a staff, with my Freak Flag blazing free! How about you?