If we’re lucky, we’re all aging and will continue to do so into a healthy old age. So why do so many of us have such negative feelings and perspectives on aging if it’s a universal condition? Perhaps it’s natural to shun the inevitability of our mortality so we choose ageist commentary while engaging in practices and procedures that promise to keep ourselves forever young in order to deny what we fear. But what if we could learn to accept – and even enjoy!- our aging process?
Enjoyment and laughing our way through our senior years makes the process easier, improves our health, and prepares us for the inevitability of our mortality. I have teamed up with Kathy Budreski, RN to create a workshop: What’s so Funny about Aging & Being Mortal: Challenging Perspectives on Aging and Dying. Aging myths and the negative images of aging – “ageism” – are explored and contrasted with the value and blessings (and humor!) of aging. New models of positive spiritual eldering are presented as emerging evidence continues to show positive health outcomes linked to the spiritual practices of elders regardless of religious or non-religious background.
This topic has a very personal meaning for me as I enter my senior years, wondering where the years have gone and noticing physical changes almost daily. (Who is that stranger in the mirror?!) It became necessary for me to keep focused on the positive aspects of aging – the level of personal comfort achieved and the ability to be more authentic rather than needing to be accepted by others for example. These realizations led me to create a workshop on the positive aspects of aging in order to help counter all the negative bias against it. Besides humor, we present uplifting information on the value of gratitude and memoir to help with coming to terms with our eventual mortality.