© Copyright 2021 UnderstandingXYZ.com, All rights reserved.
Old Anima
How R U Aging? For a refreshingly optimistic point of view concerning our aging selves, see the late Dr. Gene D. Cohen’s book, “The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain.” Cohen was a popular and highly respected psychiatrist from the 1970s until 2009 when he died too early of prostate cancer at the age of 65. He is best known for his work in the area of positive elder well-being. Through his extensive study in the field of positive aging; his prolific amount of writing, editing, and publishing; and his 35 years of experience as a prominent psychiatrist for older adults, Cohen became widely known as an expert on how creative, intellectually engaged pursuits can ultimately contribute to a rich and rewarding senior life. Cohen took this theme and outlined a course of action for the elderly that he found to be the most satisfying and productive. He based a lot of his work on repeated surveys and interviews he conducted with more than 3,000 older adults over the years of his illustrious career. From this work, Cohen devised four progressive phases of our elder years. The first phase, Cohen wrote, happens somewhere between forty and sixty-five, when people “undergo a profound reevaluation, asking themselves ‘Where have I been? Where am I now? Where am I going?’” Cohen also defined a follow-up phase – or what I like to call a “life plateau” – that often overlaps with one’s reevaluation phase. He called it the “liberation phase.” At this point in our lives “we feel a desire to experiment, innovate, and free ourselves from earlier inhibitions or limitations,” Cohen explained. He succinctly characterized this plateau as a time when we pursue the question of “if not now, when?” Next is the third plateau, termed the “summing up phase,” which hits in our late sixties and into our seventies and eighties. A typical outcome of this phase includes “a desire to give back – to family, friends, and society.” This is when elders often devote their time to volunteering and philanthropy. When people get a keen understanding of these three plateaus, they become “powerfully motivated and energized,” Cohen concluded. He referred to this as “developmental intelligence,” which carries into our fourth plateau, called the “encore phase.” This phase typically starts in our late seventies and grows in importance until we pass. It is “time as a manifestation of our creatively restless brain creating an Inner Push for reflection and a desire for continuation and celebration,” Cohen wrote. Even at this stage of our lives “new perspectives” can develop. Although we are typically set in our ways by now, we are “capable of ‘jumping the tracks,’ in spontaneous and wonderful ways,” he noted. The Inner Push Expanded I have been mulling through a fairly deep reevaluation/reflection phase that has been over-occupying my thoughts for a good two years now. I’m feeling an Inner Push to do more, not less. I keep asking myself what I truly believe about life. What is my inner spirituality? The “if not now, when” phrase from Cohen’s book keeps coming up. What does my soul say to me? What should I be doing with my life? Of course, memories grow more important now, but at the same time I have decided to continue pushing myself forward into new living, learning and working experiences. I call this my start-up-all-over- again stage that gives me energy to go on. I could stay in my current comfort-zone place, or I could seek new pastures. I chose the latter and continue to peer with squinty eyes into the bright horizon.” Hmmm, am I doddering between reevaluation and liberation? Has the Inner Push already taken a firm hold? As David Foster Wallace said in his famous commencement speech given at Kenyon College in 2005, perhaps this Inner Push involves “being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.” I think that is the true essence of a life worth living and something to keep at the top of our minds as we age. Don’t Forget to Look Up According to a recent study by the Center for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, we’re most satisfied and happiest during two stages of our lives, at the age of 23 and then again at 69. So, I still have a lot to look forward to (smiley face should go here LOL). Last night, for instance, I spent a good amount of time just check looking up at the night, starlit sky. And yes, it is still magnificent; and yes, gazing up into it helps put things into perspective; and, indeed, it’s amazing how such a simple practice can have such a profound influence on your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by, George
psychology of aging
“When I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.” - Anne Frank
Old Anima
© Copyright 2021. UnderstandingXYZ.com. All rights reserved.
How R U Aging? For a refreshingly optimistic point of view concerning our aging selves, see the late Dr. Gene D. Cohen’s book, “The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain.” Cohen was a popular and highly respected psychiatrist from the 1970s until 2009 when he died too early of prostate cancer at the age of 65. He is best known for his work in the area of positive elder well-being. Through his extensive study in the field of positive aging; his prolific amount of writing, editing, and publishing; and his 35 years of experience as a prominent psychiatrist for older adults, Cohen became widely known as an expert on how creative, intellectually engaged pursuits can ultimately contribute to a rich and rewarding senior life. Cohen took this theme and outlined a course of action for the elderly that he found to be the most satisfying and productive. He based a lot of his work on repeated surveys and interviews he conducted with more than 3,000 older adults over the years of his illustrious career. From this work, Cohen devised four progressive phases of our elder years. The first phase, Cohen wrote, happens somewhere between forty and sixty-five, when people “undergo a profound reevaluation, asking themselves ‘Where have I been? Where am I now? Where am I going?’” Cohen also defined a follow-up phase – or what I like to call a “life plateau” – that often overlaps with one’s reevaluation phase. He called it the “liberation phase.” At this point in our lives “we feel a desire to experiment, innovate, and free ourselves from earlier inhibitions or limitations,” Cohen explained. He succinctly characterized this plateau as a time when we pursue the question of “if not now, when?” Next is the third plateau, termed the “summing up phase,” which hits in our late sixties and into our seventies and eighties. A typical outcome of this phase includes “a desire to give back – to family, friends, and society.” This is when elders often devote their time to volunteering and philanthropy. When people get a keen understanding of these three plateaus, they become “powerfully motivated and energized,” Cohen concluded. He referred to this as “developmental intelligence,” which carries into our fourth plateau, called the “encore phase.” This phase typically starts in our late seventies and grows in importance until we pass. It is “time as a manifestation of our creatively restless brain creating an Inner Push for reflection and a desire for continuation and celebration,” Cohen wrote. Even at this stage of our lives “new perspectives” can develop. Although we are typically set in our ways by now, we are “capable of ‘jumping the tracks,’ in spontaneous and wonderful ways,” he noted. The Inner Push Expanded I have been mulling through a fairly deep reevaluation/reflection phase that has been over- occupying my thoughts for a good two years now. I’m feeling an Inner Push to do more, not less. I keep asking myself what I truly believe about life. What is my inner spirituality? The “if not now, when” phrase from Cohen’s book keeps coming up. What does my soul say to me? What should I be doing with my life? Of course, memories grow more important now, but at the same time I have decided to continue pushing myself forward into new living, learning and working experiences. I call this my start-up-all-over-again stage that gives me energy to go on. I could stay in my current comfort-zone place, or I could seek new pastures. I chose the latter and continue to peer with squinty eyes into the bright horizon.” Hmmm, am I doddering between reevaluation and liberation? Has the Inner Push already taken a firm hold? As David Foster Wallace said in his famous commencement speech given at Kenyon College in 2005, perhaps this Inner Push involves “being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.” I think that is the true essence of a life worth living and something to keep at the top of our minds as we age. Don’t Forget to Look Up According to a recent study by the Center for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, we’re most satisfied and happiest during two stages of our lives, at the age of 23 and then again at 69. So, I still have a lot to look forward to (smiley face should go here LOL). Last night, for instance, I spent a good amount of time just check looking up at the night, starlit sky. And yes, it is still magnificent; and yes, gazing up into it helps put things into perspective; and, indeed, it’s amazing how such a simple practice can have such a profound influence on your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by, George
“When I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.” - Anne Frank