Ageless Soul: #A-Z Challenge
“Aging is an activity. It is something you do, not something that happens. When you age–active verb–you are proactive. If you really age, you become a better person. If you simply grow old, passively, you get worse.”
Ageless Soul: The Lifelong Journey Toward Meaning and Joy by Thomas Moore
Several friends recently turned 60. I’m not quite there but I’m in the vicinity–58 3/4. We hide our fears with jokes like this one from Woody Allen: “I just turned 60. Almost a third of my life is over.”
But Moore claims that aging has more in common with cheese and wine than it does with a number. Just as some cheeses and wines improve over time, “If you let life shape you, then as time goes by, you will become a richer, more interesting person.”
And ultimately, says Moore, “your very purpose in life is to age, to become what you are; essentially, to unfold and let your inborn nature be revealed.”
Isn’t that interesting? Aging isn’t an unavoidable decline that happens to you while you busily pursue your chosen life purpose. Aging IS your purpose.
Five Stages in the Aging Process
Moore identifies five basic stages in the aging process:
- Feeling immortal
- First taste of aging
- Settling into maturity
- Shifting toward old age
- Letting things take their course
At each stage, you might feel a small shock, what Moore calls a small wakening. He says we need the impact of these shocks so that we don’t let time pass by without reflection, and a deliberate, conscious response to the stage.
If you’re having trouble accepting your current stage, here’s a short (under 3 minutes) video by Thomas Moore. It might help.
When I listen to Moore’s conception of aging, I think of those babies or toddlers who are referred to as ‘old souls.’ Wouldn’t it be wonderful to someday be an old soul–to have someone look into your eyes and see a gentle, calm wisdom? To allow yourself to be shaped by life, rather than trying to force your will and have life progress as you, with your limited knowledge, think that it should?
Where are you in the aging process? How do you know?