The 3Rs of Old Age form a thought-provoking and dynamic impression of the aging process that often gets overlooked due to our preoccupation with the nasty physiological aspects of our aging selves that too often take precedence over the highly important psychological, sociological, spiritual, and philosophical aspects of our elder-years. The late Psychologist James Hillman would refer to this aspect of the aging process as “character development.”
Mastering your universe, having the freedom to push yourself forward onto new plateaus, following your bliss – all self-perpetuating actions leading to life’s positive breakthroughs and achievements – this is the stuff of great joy. Yet, sometimes reaching a new plateau in life arrives unexpectedly, out of nowhere, mysteriously – no advanced planning whatsoever – and this new plateau may be located on a temporary stopover at an unanticipated lower level of the proverbial mountain top instead of a higher one.
Recently I came across a profound statement from a veteran psychotherapist and talented author, Irvin D. Yalom. In the preface of “Love’s Executioner,” published in 2000, he wrote how “four givens are particularly relevant to psychotherapy: the inevitability of death for each of us and for those we love; the freedom to make our lives as we will; our ultimate aloneness; and, finally, the absence of any obvious meaning or sense to life. However grim these givens may seem, they contain the seeds of wisdom and redemption.”
Every time I passed this woman sitting in her wheelchair outside of her room, she gave me a very odd, piercing look that seemed to reek of hatred. It briefly stressed me out just to see her. She was one of many wheelchair-bound residents of a combination nursing/palliative/hospice care facility that I was visiting on a regular basis for personal reasons.
It is one week before I begin a new kind of lifestyle in which I will no longer rely on an automobile to get me wherever I want to go and am forced to either walk, take public transportation and/or hail taxi services (only when absolutely necessary).
In the spirit of radical transparency, I am providing my little story here, which begins on the East side of Buffalo, New York, where I was born and raised in a small blue-collar neighborhood still known today as “Iron Island” because it is surrounded by railroad tracks. My story takes a good number of twists and turns over the years, in which I leave the Island, come back home again (yes, you can), and then move on to another new place.
Opportunities for young people to learn face-to-face social skills have disappeared. And this I think can result in tragic consequences for our social well-being overall. In conversations with colleagues and friends who will listen and contribute, I frequently like to point to the death of paper routes and other self-employment opportunities for young people that were relatively easy to take advantage of and taught me things that no school could accomplish when I was a boy.
The entire “Where Now” autobiographical account is a trip into all the “places” of my past, as well as an examination of the present, and a rough prognostication about the future. It is written in multiple tenses in a journalistic style, along with strokes I would categorize as factually true literary nonfiction.
In an essay titled “The Story of a Novel,” Thomas Wolfe – who had a very strong influence on my writing, and, in my opinion, is one of the greatest autobiographical fiction writers of all time, as well as an author who can easily be considered a memoirist – presented an elaborate sketch about his powerful, unable-to-stop, writing habits that should be mandatory reading for any budding writer.
As a home-office-based freelance writer, long periods of solitude spent in deep work comes with the territory. There are times when I will not have a conversation with anyone other than my wife for an entire week.
As a work-for-hire freelance writer, I have always believed that the deliberate practice of my work over the years/decades would give me some small semblance of financial success and a more continuous stream of reliable, paid work by this stage of life in my early sixties.
The so-called “longevity revolution” drives the next phases of Baby Boomer life, as they reach into their elder years. In short, we are still around and will stay around much longer than our predecessor generations. Plus, there are a lot of us, some 78 to 80 million by most estimates.
The show started with a scene I have never forgotten. A man in a gray suit and tie is sitting behind the wheel of a four-door sedan heading to work on a busy freeway. He has a despondent, dull, conformist look on his face when he stops at a traffic light, but then Bronson pulls up on his motorcycle and the man looks over and smiles.
Our world teeming with diversity alive in all nations, states, cities, towns, hamlets, in the obscurity of some mountainous regions, in green forests and jungles, by beaches with crystalline waters under a magnificent sun – this is our world of vastly different ways of living large, of unique manners for inhabiting spaces and places.
Some of us are extraordinarily fortunate; living comfortably within our more-than-adequate abodes; with food aplenty; engaged contentedly in work and leisure; our families, friends, acquaintances, and learning and teaching opportunities bringing joy to our hearts and minds.
Originally posted on David Cortright:
I had a powerful emotional experience the other night as I visited the new memorial in downtown South Bend commemorating…
I recently found a kindred spirit in the book “Insight: Why We’re Not as SELF-AWARE as We Think, and How SEEING OURSELVES CLEARLY HELPS US SUCCEED at Work and In Life,” by Tasha Eurich.
On two related words that we don’t see or hear about these days.
Finding a balance when defining who you are and what you do.
It was a beautiful, sunny, perfect-weather day. I was at an art festival with the woman I had just met several weeks ago and would eventually marry. We were strolling along the sawdust paths of the festival, both feeling happy beyond any sort of adjective-laden description.
Dealing with a kind of basket-case, confusing mindset, while at the same time allowing for extraordinary insights to come to the forefront.
Unfortunately, corporate work experiences can quickly change into unhealthy situations in which your unique knowledge, skills, and opinions are suddenly labeled by your superior as worthless, often due to internal politics and misunderstandings.
If you are up to it, answering these six questions will take you down a long and winding road.
A listicle of a different sort.
Looking into the question of “If Not Now, When?” & More
Working instead of retiring is good for your health and well-being.
On the importance of bringing back the iconic peace symbol.
April 4 is the 59th Anniversary of the First Public Display of Peace Symbol.
A Personal Attempt, and a Call for Responses . . .
Do Nordic Millennials Enjoy Better Living Conditions than Americans?
Many quit their jobs