Let me hear from you. Contribute your experience and thoughts. I can’t promise to answer every email, but as common themes emerge, I’ll publish some responses and try to faithfully relay the range of points-of-view. rbs@AgileAging.net
In your most private moments, what do you think about aging? Does advancing seniority fill you with distaste, or with relief? Apprehension or contentment? Are you grinning or grimacing?
What image of aging first pops into your mind’s eye? More memory-making with the grandkids? More midnight shuffles to the bathroom? A lengthening shelf of unpronounceable pills? A closet-full of business attire dry-cleaned for schlepping to Goodwill?
Have you dreams deferred or nagging irritations? A Danube cruise? Elusive words on the tip of your tongue? Performing with the Community Players? Being nibbled to death by ducks?
Like most of my peers, I’m aware the aging glass is both half-empty and half-full. We have to take the sour with the sweet. But it’s my impression that we tend to over-emphasize seniority’s downsides. If that’s correct, this reflexive pessimism exacts a high price. Not only can it impair our mental and emotional health. It can also neglect and undervalue seniority’s rich offsetting opportunities, passions and pleasures. This blog is dedicated to helping rebalance the scales. I want to make the case for a positive approach to growing old.
I find myself increasingly preoccupied by compounding transitions. Closest to home, it seems as if all the residents in our retirement community are dealing with ailments, injuries or loved-ones’ demise. TV news bombards us with images of “once-in-a-century” extreme-weather events that are becoming continuous. The COVID virus is stubbornly resurging. Ukraine-war fortunes tilt back-and-forth. Putin threatens NATO, Xi, Pacific harmony, and Trump, American democracy. Inflation drops while gasoline prices bounce. Weekly AI innovations offer promise and peril. Nothing stands still.
Some of these changes seem destructive and disheartening. Others, encouragingly transformative. Here are three examples that captured my attention as Summer yields to Fall.
Russell Sunshine worked for 40 years in 40 countries as an international development lawyer and independent policy advisor to foreign governments. Now retired back in America, he’s writing non-fiction and practicing agile aging on California’s Central Coast. Russell’s memoir, Far & Away: True Tales from an International Life, is available on Amazon. Click Here