Another stage of your life-journey: "another transition".
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, grand-parents, etc.
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
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 something 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
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) Also Anxiety
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,
Klaas Tuinman MA
Dawn Cove Abbey
Short Beach, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada - 2007-2020
|Growing Old and Suddenly Senior: Maturing with Dignity and Grace
|Dawn Cove Abbey
"Roadside Assistance" For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman M.A © 2007-2020
Questions and comments welcomed.
The Dawn Cove Abbey Tradition: Helping People Rediscover Themselves
Established in 1995, in commemoration of Abbey Dawn in Kingston, Ontario.