|Another stage of your life-journey:
That stage of life people talk about as
"the golden, or twilight years".
"Old" is more a state of mind,
than a state of being!
Here you are, suddenly "senior"; "senior
citizen";"elderly"; "growing old"; "aged";
"aging" (ageing) - and for so many, it
doesn't look or feel, or seem at all as it
had been described.
LIMBO: The doting children and
grand-children do, in all too many cases,
not come to gather round your feet.
They do not come to you for the wisdom,
knowledge and experience you acquired
and accumulated. Instead, all too often
again, once you're seniors, you are seen
as "old-fashioned" - or worse yet, "past
it". Kind of suddenly left in limbo,
so to speak.
That picture so many had of arriving
at that stage of maturity after so many
other life transition: childhood,
adolescence, teen-youth, maturity,
middle-age - just didn't happen.
One more of the many transitions in
your life: from dependent (child-youth)
to independent (maturity), from being
parents, friends, neighbours, co-workers,
hobbyists, athletes, spouses, partners,
As a senior, you have:* celebrated births,
baptisms, engagements, weddings,
anniversaries and family holidays.
* sorrowed, experienced and mourned
misfortune, disaster, loss, bereavement,
sickness etc. * experienced joy and
sorrow; happiness and sadness;
anxiety and fear etc.
And all that has brought you to this stage of
life you had looked forward to: to discover
that you had been ill-prepared for the
reality of it: by yourself, by others, by
"society". Again, what happened?
|This is to be a Positive online transition place for seniors: a place to
assess what happened, what is "really" involved;
and what you can do.
Identity: Besides health, illness and ailments issues, the single most
important, and often devastating challenge, or situation, facing "seniors"
is the strong sense of loss of identity: who you are, where you fit,
and how you now fit in.
For years you may have been the provider (financial, home maker, "fixer"
etc, etc;) and suddenly you seem to have been shifted out of those roles,
and become - a "what"? You may often feel like you are suddenly
on an other planet.
* And once you arrive at that stage, there is (or there can be) a sense
of confusion - and a major loss of self-confidence, a loss of self-worth
and self-esteem - kind of feeling in limbo, so to speak.
* You have to "re-invent" yourself - at least, that's how it often feels.
Yet, the life transition from youth, to middle age to old age is some-
thing everyone goes through. It is that final stage ageing, where we
become "elderly" - or becoming "seniors".
* It is the most overwhelming of all the life transitions humans face
- because of the many changes this particular transition involves.
This stage, ageing, when it arrives, provides a challenge to the entire
concept of who you are - your self-image. In a sense, it is very similar
to the transition you faced, and experienced, when entering your teens.
* The difference is, in your youth you were faced with a life-time ahead
of you: with time and opportunity to make and explore options and
choices, and make changes. Now you are labelled as: the elderly,
ageing, senior: a major shock to your self-esteem,
self-image, and self-confidence.
This is not just a big difference - it is an important and very significant
difference. At this stage of life transitions, the choice, or choices you
make are much more crucial for our continued, or renewed
happiness, confidence and joy of who you are.
The so-called "golden years" are only golden if you make them so
- it is a choice entirely dependent on you. It involves "attitude". Attitude
in life is an important and crucial factor. And at this stage it is more
important than ever.
With the right attitude you can make good choices: choices that
enrich your life. Poor choices result in an unhappy life. It is as
simple, and as complicated as that: the choice to take life
and make it what you want.
|Growing old together gracefully is a wonderful goal - and many
have achieved it. There are things they did to make it so.
Some Positive Thoughts:
You are not old (elderly or senior) - you live in a body that is
getting older! You're as old as you think you are!
("age" is a state of mind)
Ageing is a major life transition: How Old is Old?
These days, few people in our society agree on what "old" means,
or when people become "seniors." For example, some places give
senior discounts at 55; others at 65; but some organizations allow
you to join at 50-and start sending you "seniors" mail
when you're 48!
So what is a Senior & Aging?
It all depends on what criteria you use.
See the above "positive thoughts" for reference.
Aging & becoming a senior involves your body changing and slowing
down - as well as your maturity showing through. As stated above, most
of all - it can be a time of identity crisis - who are you, and who values
what you learned and what you have become?
Important considerations, for sure.
The single biggest challenge for many seniors is dealing with
loneliness: loneliness due to loss of partner, loss of friends, loss
of career, loss of home, loss of mobility, or a combination of these.
Loss of independence (related to the above) - you become more
and more dependent on others. You are suddenly the "elderly",
the "retired", "seniors" - no longer part of the workplace, career etc.
Identity: A transfer of roles, and duties - again challenging your
sense of who you are: identity. * An "erosion" of your identity and
roles as others gradually take them from you, whether on purpose or
through ignorance. * Misunderstanding by others of what "growing
old" really means. * How to accept these changes and transition
gracefully - how to maintain your dignity and sense of self-worth.
Seniors still have their feelings, and sensitivities: they are not a
different species! Often there are physical health issues (your own,
or the illness of a loved one). Common emotional issues
are Depression and Stress.
There can also be other major emotional issues - related to the effects
of all the bodily changes - the slowing down. Some of the emotional
issues come from some of the indignities you may suffer as a result of
illness (johnny-shirts, hospital gowns, being poked and prodded
- often embarrassingly in private places, being seen in the
"all-together" by strangers, etc)
For many, there are also financial issues, monetary matters - coping
on a reduced, fixed income. Personal loss (death of friends, family
members, partner or other loved ones).
Also see Life Transitions/Grief,
And unless steps are taken to prevent them, there are also:
depression, bitterness and fear (of all sorts of things, including
the next transition and destination of our life journey).
Dealing with all that - and re-discovering that joy is a journey, one
that can be challenging - but ultimately rewarding.
If at times it gets you down - why not take a look at the "Beginnings" page,
to find some things that make your day?
And if you are grieving lost ones
- there are also the Life Transitions-Grief, Pages.
Klaas Tuinman MA
Dawn Cove Abbey
Short Beach, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada - 2007-2019
|Growing Old and Suddenly Senior: Maturing with Dignity and Grace