I have been thinking about the process of aging and particularly how life as an older adult is not as explored or contemplated as much as other aspects of our life in general and also in the media, and how I might explore what aging means to me and what can it be like. So when I found this, I was excited and relieved that it’s, ‘out there’ more, and I thought I’d share this with you all. http://www.photosensitive.com/aging/
Showcased at Union Station there are photographs with commentary called, “Aging”; aging in society today and how older adults are treated and active in mostly Canadian culture. I had also been thinking more about aging for myself, and for my family members. The commentary is touching, informative with a few surprising pieces of information. You’ll have to click on the picture for the short write-up. They touch on the joys of love, service, art, physical fitness, family and community and struggles of aging in general from health, to independence, to aging in Canada, as a Canadian War Vet, or as a newcomer older adult to Canada, and also on an older adult tradition in an Inuit culture.
I feel it is important to our health and wellbeing to open up to our feelings about aging and engage more often in conversation about the different stages of life, more specifically with older age. What are your feelings on what it means to live life in your 70’s, 80’s, 90’s…What do you expect? What do you hope? What do you fear?
What is your relationship to aging?
Sometimes I hear people speak of older adults as though they were a different species and it bothers me. Sometimes I hear younger adults speak of older adults as though us younger adults know what it’s all about. Too often young adults speak in a patronizing or condescending way as though we are were never going to be 90, like that is not us, or our potential; where the word, ‘they’ is used like there isn’t a child version of yourself inside of you, nor an older woman or man within. ‘They’, like they are nothing like you.
I hope to be an older adult one day.
I have also been exploring my feelings on death and dying. I have completed Hospice Volunteer Training for Complimentary Therapy work (Reiki) for end of life patients who are terminal. I learned more on the process of death for the dying and also for their family and loved ones. Spending time with people in this stage of life has been a gift; being part of someone’s intimate, vulnerable and strong moments. It is bringing more meaning and depth to my life experience and to my personal relationship with death and how I live. I know a number of you have been more recently affected by aging or death in your family, and the changes that occur inside yourselves and within your family dynamic.
What is your relationship with death?
I believe part of the hush-hush or tentativeness or flat-out fear of exploring our relationship to aging is because it makes us feel into deaths of different kinds and most definitely into a space of unknowns.
I hope a conversation and exploration of the later stages of life and of death is enriching and helpful for you in some way as it has so far been meaningful for me. I have fears of what I will feel or look like what I will or won’t be able to do. I have hopes of a healthy, active, rich, happy and meaningful life at every age for myself and everyone. I feel it is important to explore our relationship to aging and to death, if not for yourself, then for others who need your understanding and empathy.