Our American society is in the midst of an important transformation relative to aging. In other cultures, and in prior times, women were respected as crones and wise women, men as elders, and women and men were considered sages. Such positions were and are still acclaimed as an integral part of some societies. However, our culture idealizes youth and early life. Yet, it is projected that by 2050, there will be more than three times as many people age 65 and older as there are today.
In view of the fact that our culture continues to focus on youthfulness, it is clear that now is a time for us, as adult women and men, to take a reality check. The fact of the matter is that regardless of our adult age, we, as women who are daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, wives, teachers, business women, caregivers, and leaders, have diverse life experiences and deep levels of wisdom to offer our families, communities and the world. This reality does not exclude men; it is not gender specific to say the least.
Aging has been viewed as a negative experience, and "successful aging" has been viewed as nothing more than gracefully slowing the inevitable decline of the body and mind. I am dedicated to re-ennvision this idea, and I invite others to challenge the frontlines of maturity in an effort to shift stereotypical norms.
Some of life's most precious gifts can only be acquired with age. Clearly, wisdom and mastery of hundreds of different spheres of human experiences requires decades of learning. Growing old can be filled with positive experiences. Affirmative Aging means gathering and manifesting the enormous positive potential that each one of us has for growth, love, happiness, as well as living with purpose and fulfillment.
The second half of life offers some of the most complex and rich decades we will experience. It can be a time of vibrant opportunities. As we integrate liberating images of aging, encourage change, and explore models of development, we can more fully contribute to our communities at a time when global issues require all the wisdom humanity can impart.
My mission is to bring women and men together to bring voice to their hopes, dreams, and challenges of aging, to provide grounding from their experiences, and to explore ways to shift cultural views. I have deep passion to make a difference in ways our culture views aging, and its response to aged individuals. Every day, I encounter many people over the age of 50, and continuously see that our society needs the wisdom of their years...a unique wisdom that can only emerge from each person's unique journey of aging.
An essential question is: How can re-envisioning aging in the second half of life provide opportunities to enrich living by furthering temotional, intellectual, psychological, relational, social, and spiritual development...and maintain physical health? By exploring a reframing of our own aging, we gain a new foundation to positively transform views and practices that have been confining in our culture. Certainly, to initiate change, our responsibility may actually be to create liberating images, practices, and lifestyles. Meaningful change begins with our own personal lives. Such an approach includes views we have of ourselves, the way we live our lives, possibilities we envision, and the manner in which we view the world.
We can change the "worldview" by means of changing what we think is real. This includes how we view aging, the economy, technology, the planet, God, what we value, how we treat our beloved ones, life priorities, lifestyles, ways we spend our time and money, and changes in our livelihoods. We can consciously make life-affirming decisions to lead the way in this transformation.
To create change, we need an understanding of the realitiese and possibilities in which aging can be embraced and celebrated. I believe one possibility is for women and men to view themselves as sage leaders. My definition of a sage leader is "any person over the age of 50 who imparts a wise mentoring spirit, is a living example of personal authenticity, and makes a conscious commitment to a compassionate, vital life-affirming second half of life". Relative to this envisioning, the word "Sagessence" emerged, which I imagined and derived from sage as wise, and essence as spirit.
The concept of Sagessence then evolved into developing a business model to initiate and promote change with and for women and men as they live into their second half of life. The business that evolved is Sagessence, LLC. The ministry of Sagessence is to develop programs to inspire and rouse interest in visioning and living into a radically fulfilling mature life. The goal is to suppport women and men to understand their unique stories and to honor their life wisdom, based on the belief that as we embrace liberating images of aging and honor change, we can more fully contribute to our communities and future generations. From this foundation comes expansion into a deeper understanding of Affirmative Aging! I welcome you to join me on this journey.