Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis
I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Dr. Bill Thomas when he was on a promotional tour for his new book called The Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper, and More Connected Life. (As they toured through the country, they invited local professionals to present their complimentary message of encouragement and inspiration.) His message resonates with everything I believe about aging. His approach is cutting edge, refreshing, and as he says, “It changes everything!” He points to this enormous group of baby boomers that are moving into their 70’s that bring with them their culture of hard work, success, materialism, and competition. They don’t want to grow old; many of them feel the best part of life is over. If you can’t be bigger, faster, stronger, better, you are washed up!
Our cultural fixation on youth boils down to the word still. It works like this---you fill in the blank. “Dad is 97 years old, and he ____ drives to the senior center and picks up the 80-year-olds!” “My Aunt Mary is 94, and she _____ cooks her meals and cans vegetables from the garden she tends!” “My cousin is 100, and she ____ goes square dancing every Friday night!” The point is that we are fixated on elders that can still function as they did at 60. We celebrate age if it looks like youth. It is time to stop and take a close look at the message and our attitude. I am a boomer, and I am guilty, but I believe in the value of recognizing and appreciating Elders. Seniors are not just figments of their younger selves; they are now promoted to Elderhood. Dr. Thomas says, “Age endows elders with unique perspectives on time, money, faith, childhood, and relationships that cannot be gained by any other means.”
“Honor your Elders, they have the wisdom to teach what we have not learned yet.” Native American Quote