Testing the outside world.
Sometimes, creating a new way to experience life, can feel like a struggle.
Finally, fully exposed to a new way of being.
Waking up to a New Life Stage
Without much fanfare, a ‘new life stage’ – Novescence – is emerging within our society. A life stage that offers up an increase of a 30 year stretch between the end of our midlife work and parenting roles, and the beginning of anything feeling like ‘old age’ – as we have traditionally known it to be. Never before in human history has there been such an opportunity for us to actually ‘grow’ in so many ways, as we are becoming older. Not only does the dawning of this new life stage turn current thinking about what it’s like to be old upside down, new research is showing that traditional perceptions about our capabilities as we become older are in so many instances, just down right wrong! We have the potential, as we become older, to be so much more than we ever dreamed we could be!
For example, research is revealing that the majority of those over 60 are now much healthier, on average, then those who came before them. Being 70 or 80 in 2014, for example, is quite different than being 70 or 80 in 1984. Every decade, health is improving. So, rather than assuming that everyone over 65 is on a downhill path, a much more resourceful path would be to come face to face with our ageist views and become curious about what needs to change – within us and outside of us, to take advantage of this new life stage.
Novescence has been created largely by increasing longevity and lower birth rates over the last 100 years, and is opening up at the same time as the ranks of people in their 50s, and 60s (largely identified as Baby Boomers) are increasing by the millions. Many are unsatisfied with being defined by traditional labels such as ‘senior’ or ‘retired’ and are unwilling to be lumped under one umbrella for aging – as defined by the situations of the minority of our elderly who suffer from disease, frailty and/or decline. Millions of ‘new life stagers’ are on the rise, searching for ‘what else is possible in their lives’.
The key to making the most of Novescence will be a willingness on each of our parts, to take the time to question, and challenge our long held beliefs about what’s ahead for us as we age. To reflect on where we’ve come from, what we want to continue to take along with us, what we want to let go of, and to ask ourselves what our intention for the future will be.
It involves recognizing and being willing to make a shift – to begin developing a new story and a new map for this new stage of our lives, for the years ahead – rather than living from habitual patterns from our past. Currently no map exists for life beyond 65 within our culture. The years from birth to 65 are full of maps laying out life plans for everyone, ending at the historical age of retirement. Then the maps abruptly disappear!
Being left on ones’ own to create a new story and map for the years ahead, gives us the opportunity to realize that if we choose well, we can influence greatly the quality of our lives in the years ahead. It means that rather than turning to others (including members of our family, medical, government and religious systems) to decide what is ‘best’ for us, we must be willing to ask ourselves the tough questions. It’s really all about waking up and becoming aware – in other words becoming ‘conscious’.
The thought of having to change, even in small ways in order to live a more engaged, meaningful and healthier life, while exciting for many, may be scary for the vast majority of aging adults – largely because of the ‘not knowing’ what that could mean. Regardless of that fear, it would seem even more scary to not step up to exploring a more meaningful life. Research is clear that the greatest regrets most humans have at the time of their death – as they reflect back on their life lived – are the things they didn’t do, the risks they didn’t take, the choices they didn’t make!
We truly are on the cusp of a huge societal culture change – much like what happened when ‘Adolescence’ emerged. It is challenging in the highest order – because let’s face it, none of us have been there before, and it’s exciting because we now have the opportunity to create a fresh new map and story for the years ahead.
My intention with this web site is to create greater awareness about the ‘Novescence’ and the shift in thinking that I believe is required to take advantage of it by living consciously as we grow older. My blog now reflects regular ‘letters’ I am writing, and I will also post the word about talks, seminars and workshops on Living Consciously while Growing Older, and Novescence, that I offer. As well, over the coming months, I will be sharing news on an upcoming Television documentary and series on aging, entitled Fearless, of which I am the Concept Creator, working collaboratively with filmmaker Donna Davies, Owner of Ruby Tree Films. Also, have a daily look at my new Facebook page: Growing Older Consciously.
This site is thus a continual work in progress, please come back often to explore the content as it changes on a regular basis.
To make the most of this new life stage, it’s critical that we wake up, become truly aware of where we really are in our lives, what we must let go of, and what we honestly want for the coming years; in other words become ‘conscious’.
Social Activist | Conscious Aging Visionary and Elder | Thought Leader