Baby Boomers, never ones for rocking chairs, are increasingly looking at life’s third act as one filled with many possibilities, instead of none.
No Longer Waiting at the Windows of Life
Dass also stresses the importance of being connected to community, which can help ward off loneliness and isolation. “Whether through shame over our own aging, or through fear of dependency, we should be vigilant about this tendency to isolate ourselves as we get older. To offset it, we might seek out community centers and other meeting places where peers congregate … specifically for bringing people of all generations together.”
Want to Practice Conscious Aging?
The Institute of Noetic Sciences, a member of the Conscious Aging Alliance, has identified nine practices to help people engage in life fully:
1. Reflect on your worldview, beliefs, stereotypes, and assumptions. How might they be limiting you or holding you back?
2. Reframe Your Inner Talk. Take note of your critical self-talk … reframe these internal messages as more positive and self-compassionate.
3. Shift Your Perspective away from the popular media and the weapons of “mass distraction” that shape the dominant culture’s view of aging. Find opportunities to pause and ask yourself where you find joy, goodness, and connections.
4. Practice Mindful Attention. Bring your attention toward greater self-awareness. What do you need to surrender or leave behind? How can you conserve your energy for what has heart and meaning? What still needs healing or forgiveness?
5. Set Intentions. Ask yourself, “What matters most? What values do I want to adhere to?”
6. Build New Habits. Challenge your brain with new learnings, explore new activities…or do something new every day.
7. Find Guidance. Connecting with others offers a way of living into new patterns and behaviors.
8. Move from I to We. Altruism and compassion born of shared destiny, rather than duty or obligation, can emerge and add joy and purpose to your actions.
9. Death Makes Life Possible. As people grow older, as they come to face their own mortality, they can bring greater awareness to the transformative process that allows a deeper experience of their life journey.
Live it Forward
I agree, growing older shouldn’t mean an end to our growth. As philosopher Søren Kierkegaard noted, “Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.” Sounds like a fine future to look forward to!