The Hero’s Journey for the Third Act: Transforming Our “Story” of Aging
Although these seven steps sound like a tall order, putting such a plan into practice is like a rejuvenation visit to a spa!
1. Embrace the identity shift that being an elder represents.
2. Write a new script for our lives.
3. Release emotional baggage that can sabotage our aging story.
4. Get in touch with our authentic vision for elderhood.
5. Tap into the passion that can make this vision a reality.
6. Transform feelings of isolation & loneliness into a purposeful community of allies.
7. Create a legacy of service to support a healthy world for our descendants.
WHAT IS CONSCIOUS ELDERING?
Aging with Intention and Purpose
“When you embrace conscious eldering, you start to feel lighter—in your heart and body—as you imagine the latter years of your life “filled with passion, purpose and vitality”– Ron Pevny
Conscious eldering is an opportunity to view our closing chapters as those in many indigenous cultures do: as a time of harvest, when the joy and wisdom of a lifetime can be translated into service and meaning for family and community. Pevny’s prescription echoes that of septuagenarian Charles D. Hayes, whose September University is not a school, but a state of mind: a vision of retirement that entails “sifting through a half-century or more of experience, sorting those things that are truly important from those that aren’t, and finding ways to pass on that wisdom.”
“Elderhood has been a revered stage throughout most of human history,” notes Pevny. It was understood as an honor conferred upon those who, through effort and expectation, had grown into a wholeness and ability to see the bigger picture that comes with experience. In recent times, we’ve depreciated the aging process and downgraded the respectful, vibrant “elder” to a diminished “elderly”.
RIGHT OF PASSAGE FOR SENIORS WHO WANT TO BECOME CONSCIOUS ELDERS:
1. Grasp that aging can be a time for fulfillment and growth.
It can be challenging to believe this because:
• Society says older adults have become irrelevant.
• We’ve been told what we do is more important than who we are.
• Most seniors do not have a grand vision that can encapsulate all the possibilities.
2. Bring awareness to beliefs about aging.
What we believe shapes who we become, and most beliefs are unconscious. The most important question:
• Do my beliefs make a difference in how my life turns out?
• For example: If an ageist remark stings, there is more to transform.
• What are our visceral reactions to visiting a nursing home?
3. Form an intention and commitment to inner work.
Inner work reflects the three stages of transition:
• Heal our lives up to this point through forgiveness, grief work, rewriting old stories, letting go of what no longer serves.
• Quiet time in the corridor between who we’ve been and who we can become. Many people feel rudderless, without a map. Yet in this in-between time, older adults can have the best access to inner guidance. Create space to listen, wait, write, and reflect. See what starts to stir, and nurture creativity.
• Clarify and act with intention to move forward. Plant seeds. Begin to try out what feels right.
4. Choose practices that support aging consciously.
• Set intentions: “10 Intentions for next 10 Years.”Make time to be in silence (ideally in nature) and begin to get in touch with your inner guidance.
• Envision what a fulfilled elderhood can look like.
• Create an “elderhood bucket list” that focuses on every aspect of your life: relationships, health and wellness, service to others, spiritual growth, fun/pleasure, etc. Spend time with each, imagining what it would feel like—and is this something you have the energy and the will to create?
• Be wholehearted: not, “I hope to”, or “I’d like to” but “I intend to” or “I commit to”.
A little outside the reverse mortgage box? Perhaps — or perhaps not. The Hero’s Journey is one we all have the option of taking at each life stage. What is unique about conscious eldering is, this model has not been applied to “the third act” before. And in the third millennium, with the mature adult population now the largest in human history, it’s time.
LEAVING A LEGACY
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Find out if a Reverse Mortgage could be the right solution for you—set up a complimentary personal assessment today.
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” –Michelangelo