In many cultures, being “old” is enough to have you literally or metaphorically slung on the scrap heap.
Yet there is no substitute for experience.
Ability to see the big picture of life requires us to have lived for many decades. Appreciating that I am a human being rather than insisting on doing for my identity takes time to sink in. And there is a new power available to us just when our youthful strength starts to fade: elders can get results by influence rather than by control. Specially for men accustomed to positions of overt leadership in the world, discovering the wisdom of eldership offers a whole new lease on life as a generous contributor who uses subtlety to shape teams and events rather than control them.
Being closer to the grave than the cradle brings new perspectives and new possibilities. To name a few:
- Experience the joy of sharing wisdom and experience, knowing there is no need to get anything in return
- Enjoy sex without concern about pregnancy
- The self confidence that comes from knowng you're never going to be perfect and that you are quite OK just as you are
- Free time that comes when active parenting is complete
I challenge you to create your positive vision for eldershipAnd if you are still stuck on the negatives of gettng closer to the grave than the cradle, I suggest reading Robert A Johnson's book, Living Your Unlived Life – Coping with unrealised dreams and fulfilling your purpose in the second half of life. I find his insights and recommended activities enormously helpful in my own bumpy road to elderhood.
If you happen to live in Australia, check out The Eldership Project programme Finding Your Wisdom or otherwise watch Allan Rudner on Elderhood.