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 of 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
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 making, "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?

  • The single biggest challenge for 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)
  • 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.

Klaas Tuinman MA
Dawn Cove Abbey
Short Beach, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada - 2007-2017
Growing Old and Suddenly Senior: Maturing with Dignity and Grace
People who really want to heal,
will find a way;
Those who don't
will have an excuse
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 MA, © 2007-2017

Questions and comments welcomed.