Reinvent Yourself With This Re-Aging Plan
Posted On Jan 30, 2018
Aging is often associated with gaining wisdom and respect, but there’s a certain turning point when aging becomes our greatest fear. That specific and terrifying fear stems from losing the one thing that we all hold dear: our Humanity. This idea isn’t new or innovative. Whether you lived in the Roman Empire like the philosopher Cicero or in ancient Egypt like Minister Ptah-Hotep, you shared in the thought that age is a curse on the way to death. Is there any way the perception of aging could be changed?
Instead of picturing the bed-ridden, grandma who can’t remember her own name much less her grandchildren, why can’t we picture aging as the confident, retired dancer who finds new purpose as an activist. Well, Marc E. Agronin, MD, one of America’s leading geriatric psychiatrist and author of How We Age, is here with his new book that illustrates a simple message, “Aging brings strength.”
Excerpted from The End Of Old Age: Living a Longer, More Purposeful Life (dacapopress.com, $27)
By Marc E. Agronin, M.D.
Dr. Agronin developed a concept for people to view their experiences and responses to adversity that he calls age points. It’s defined as a period of time in which an event or situation prompts a significant disruption in our ability to cope and understand it. An age point falls into four distinct stages.
- Event: An experience that is strong enough to trigger an age point
- Suspension: The shock and uncertainty that comes after the experience
- Reckoning: The mental, emotional, and behavior way we process what just happened to us and we reconcile that with what we need
- Resolution: A new way of looking, thinking, feeling, and doing that helps us move on and center ourselves
An age point comes at a point of weakness, but if we learn to understand the experience, there’s potential for incredible growth in significant ways.
Culture is a word to describe the totality of human achievement, so when we want to take an inventory of ourselves in totality, what word do we use? The vast collection of abilities, interests, experiences, relationships, and commitments that we have accumulated over our entire lives can only be described as our age culture, and if you want to understand your own age culture you need to ask yourself three simple questions:
- Who was I? This is where you take stock of what you’ve learned, achieved, and experienced. The essential skills and expertise that we’re proud of. These answers represent our reserves of wisdom.
- Who am I? Here is where you illustrate what you like doing presently. What do you spend the most time doing or whom do you spend the most time with? This is where your passions or favorite activities reside. These answers show you what your purpose in life is.
- Who will I be? This section is all about the future. What do you want to see, do, and experience? What do you want to quit or keep around? The answer here will determine how you can renew or reinvent yourself.
A valuable change in perception is only possible if you have a clear understanding of what your current perception is and knowing your age culture is a positive step in clearing the negative connotations of becoming old.
As you get older and your youthful confidence fades, what is there for you to reach towards? For those individuals who have reached old age and want to find new or more fulfilling purpose in their lives, Dr. Agronin outlines a five-step action to “Re-Age.”
- Reserve: Catalogue your wisdom and take inventory of what you’ve learned
- Resilience: Finding out your purpose in life is paramount in gaining a second wind in old age
- Reinvention: This step is about changing the way you create, treat people, and explore the world
- Legacy: Thinking about what you will leave behind can alter what you want to spend the rest of your days doing
- Celebration: Transitions in life often come with a party, why not do it for getting old?
Nobody said changing your life is easy. It’s a long, grueling process that takes honest self-reflection and a drive to become better. This is made even harder as you age and life has taken its toll on you, but with this book, you can find that hopeful spark again. Make your twilight years as bright as possible.
Excerpted from The End Of Old Age: Living a Longer, More Purposeful Life by Marc E. Agronin, M.D. Copyright © 2018 Da Capo Lifelong Books. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.