"Forty is the old age of youth. Fifty is the youth of old age." ~ Victor Hugo
We live in a culture that values youth as the supreme 'normal' by which all other stages of life are compared. Aging, therefore, is regarded as deteriorating youth, declining power and waning ability.
Why? Perhaps because most individuals who write about, or profit in some way by perpetual youth, are either fearful of what they think aging is about or they stand to profit from the fears of others.
Aging, saging, eldering…whatever name you use to describe it, the process is simply nature taking its course.
It’s is often described by those going through it as a time of mellowing, of shifting values and opening to new dimensions of being. It’s a stage of life where death comes to sit upon your shoulder, inviting you to make friends with it; a time when bodies begin to show their wear and the inner spirit deepens.
Since we don’t usually vault from adulthood to frail old age, it's valuable to recognize the midphase of the aging process as a stage of life with its own integrity and intelligence.
And with the Baby Boomers about to enter that midphase, its certain that positive aging will become a trend. Boomers are reputed to be the healthiest, longest lived, best educated and most affluent of any prior generation.
Since they have been change-makers from the beginning, you can count on the generation changing the face of aging from negative to positive.
Although most of society associates ultimate power with an agile body, strong will, mental acuity and prowess, it is equally true that aging reveals others forms of power.
Remaining physically active is a decision to prolong health and vitality just as remaining mentally active, creative and useful prolongs independence and a sense of purpose.
This decision is intelligent regardless of age. But suddenly, when one approaches midlife, good choice making is tagged 'anti-aging,' a phrase that implies fighting against a natural process. It connotes a conflict, a resistance to a something that will happen anyway as a natural course of living and implies that one should somehow be ashamed of aging and wage war against it.
But the truth is that as we mature, we are invited to realize the preciousness of life and if we manage it well, we learn to make peace instead of wage war. We learn to accept each day with gratitude and to hold ourselves, and the process, in a positive light.