Spring 2018From Peggy
Spring is the time of year when we experience the blooming of flowers and the warming of the sun. It is also the time of year when we speak of beginnings. As we celebrate Easter or Passover we talk often about new beginnings, either from liberation or resurrection. It is a special time for our organization and our supporters.
As older adults, we don’t always talk as easily about beginnings. As we age we find ourselves talking more about “last stage,” “third act,” “endings,” or “history.” Perhaps it’s time to turn that on its head? In Japan, aging is seen as maturity and increased wisdom. In Greek, the word “Geronda,” meaning ‘old man’ is used as a term of endearment and honor. Native Americans see their elders as having esteemed knowledge and value. The United States, having been established predominantly by Protestants escaping persecution in England, brought the Protestant Work Ethic with them to start our country. So we define individual value in terms of individual achievement and responsibility for control over one’s own actions. So we resist aging, every single day
I was talking with my colleague Lois Ricci recently, who has worked in the field of gerontology for over 40 years. (I don’t think she would mind if I told you that.) She told me about how early in her career she took all kinds of workshops about preventing slips and falls among older adults. Today, nurses and other service providers are taking all kinds of workshops about preventing slips and falls among older adults. Are we just slow learners? No, we just refuse to accept the reality of aging as it is seen as decreasing our value. So the accommodations one would make to accept increased limitation of an older body are rejected because “I’m not getting older!” So we keep slipping and falling.
So let’s have a new beginning. Let’s decide that we are ready to embrace all of the radical ambiguities of aging, and instead of rejecting them, we will incorporate them into a new and vibrant life! Let’s turn aging on its head!
In our Older But Still Getting Wiser series this session, our fictional characters, Mr. and Mrs. Lifespan, will walk through all of the various challenges and opportunities that present themselves to all of us as we age. And our actors will help Mr. and Mrs. Lifespan figure out the best way they can embrace their “new beginning.” And then there are our three movement classes – turning aging on its head. Come and join the celebration of new beginnings in getting older. We