“Old age ain’t for sissies.” – Bette Davis
On the other hand, there are the ubiquitous messages of doom and gloom, e.g. that older people don’t matter, that some strange idea of perfection of youth is all that counts, and that depression is inevitable. The list goes on and one and is also so off balance.
Both ends of the spectrum can leave you feeling confused, overwhelmed and longing for guidance, peace and balance.
The actual truth is that there is happiness to be experienced and cultivate on your life journey and, indeed, a deep and profound richness of perspective and peace that only comes in older years.
Are there challenges along the way? Yes, of course there are. As renowned Harvard geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas describes so well:
“Aging is the most dangerous game you’ll ever play! It makes the NFL look like a powder puff league. The people who are taking the most risks, who are really living on the edge, are older people.”
If you feel like you are losing your way, it can help a lot to have an experienced guide and a coach with you as you navigate your way through the “Another Country” (term coined by bestselling author Mary Pipher) of older life. A competent and compassionate ally and counselor can listen carefully with trained ears, and assess your situation. She can then provide you with both proven and practical strategies and serve as your nonjudgmental and confidential sounding board.
Sources for Balanced Answers and Guidance
1. You can often find help by talking with with wise older people in your community. Ask questions, listen to their stories, invite them to tell you things like what they enjoy about being their age and what surprises them. Learn everything you can from these “natives” of the territory of older age! They may be your peers or your elders. Regardless, these are key people in your search for balance.
2. “Guidebooks” can be helpful. Mary Pipher’s Another Country; The Longevity Revolution by Dr. Robert Butler (the founding Director of the National Institute of Aging), From Age-ing to Sage-ing by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, and Aging as a Spiritual Practice by Lewis Richmond are excellent examples. Dr. Bill Thomas, a Harvard MD, is an internationally known advocate for older people and for changing how our culture treats older people. His latest book is called: “Second Wind”.
3. And, when you are in crisis, you can move more quickly towards resolution and relief by seeing a counselor and consultant like me, one on one. I will listen with my trained and experienced ears, drawing from my 12 years of experience working with people probably a lot like you, to provide comfort, normalizations, answers and resources for you and/or your family member. As a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and a Credentialed Professional Gerontologist, with a wealth of life experience in community service, activism, medicine and business, I can help you find your way through issues which emerge in middle and old age towards feelings of peace and happiness.
Reach out to schedule a free telephone or in-person 20 minute consultation.
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