Tag Archives: eldering

Dreaming of a Dark Christmas

By Jim Selman | Bio

I am one of the folks who love Christmas. I am not particularly sentimental, nor am I into elaborate decorating or gift-giving. I just like the music and the general shift in mood that seems to come with the season. I recognize, however, that not everyone is ‘happy’ around Christmas time. This is the season for lots of ‘relapses’ in 12-Step programs, a ‘blip’ in suicides, and (of course) the usual problems associated with too many parties and too much alcohol. Whatever the reasons, there is definitely a dark side to Christmas.

As I’ve grown older, I see more clearly how difficult this time of year can be for many people. For many families, Christmas is about children and ‘Baby Jesus’. But for some, there is a sense of failure and defeat in not having ‘enough’ to participate in the economic gift-giving juggernaut: for others, a kind of ‘reactivation’ associated with family reunions and memories of Christmas past. Some experience a kind of generic depression associated with too many people

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Giving Up ‘Giving Up’

By Jim Selman | Bio

My partner and I were recently enjoying one of those lazy weekend mornings just chatting about life in general when we got onto the subject of getting older and how we feel about it all. I made the point that my passion and The Eldering Institute® is about transforming our culture’s view of aging and teaching people that we can change how we relate to the future—and, as a consequence, we can have more choices, more possibility and more ‘aliveness’

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Health is a Function of Participation

By Jim Selman | Bio

I remember this phrase from the est training in the 1970s. It was one of the maxims the people received at the end of the program in ‘the little book of aphorisms’. This booklet was filled with Werner Erhard’s insights on life and basically reinforced the idea that ‘this is it’—life is what it is and reality doesn’t care what we think. The point was to stop being victims and ‘make a difference’. It was a great experience for hundreds of thousands of folks looking

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Alternative Economic Paradigms: The Gift Economy

By Shae Hadden | Bio

I’ve been glancing in shop windows recently as I wander my new neighborhood. There seem to be more sales and discounts now at the retail outlets than ever before, as if lowering a ticketed price will lure consumers in to buy when the prevailing mood is one of restraint and caution. Experts argue over whether our market economy is going to limp along in its current form or be remade or redefined. Scarcity thinking seems to predominate consumer behavior. Meanwhile, what I don’t want us to lose sight of are the barter and gift economies that co-exist (and continue to evolve) alongside the regular buying and selling of goods.

A ‘gift economy’ is one in which people give away products and services without any expectation of compensation. In a way, bartering is a reciprocal form of ‘gifting’, in which two parties exchange what they need with each other and eliminate the transfer of money. In a gift economy, simultaneous giving to others (and not just a back and forth between two people) is looked on favorably, as it circulates and more widely redistributes resources within a community. In

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Toward An Ethic of Aging III

By Stuart J Whitley | Bio

In my last post I wondered about whether or not there was an ethic of aging. Again, by ‘ethics’ I mean simply some general consensus or agreement about what is good about the way we relate to one another. This is a group or communal expression of belief, rather than an individual or moral outlook. The distinction is thus simply drawn between morals and ethics, terms which are often interposed. I should be more explicit and ask whether there is a reasonable consensus

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Time for Seniors

By Kevin Brown | Bio

Recently, I came across an article from the New York Times entitled "Invisible Immigrants, Old and Left With ‘Nobody to Talk To’", concerning elderly immigrants in the United States and the loneliness and isolation that many of them experience, especially those who speak little or no English.
 
The article references Mr. Devendra Singh, a

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Eldering: Transforming Age

By Jim Selman | Bio

I think that one of the things going on these days is that ‘Baby Boomers’ are waking up to the fact that they have a choice about how they age and what it means to be old. The Boomer label is just a demographic slogan. Personally, I don’t like being lumped into a single category with 70 million other folks. This sociological category of “Baby Boomer” (which is now almost synonymous with growing older) makes it easy for us to slip into generalizations about age and

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Cooking and the Generation Gap

By Sharon Knoll | Bio

Cooking with my daughter, Krista, is bliss. We were making Crabby Crabcakes, an incredible recipe from Mark Bittman at the NY Times. They were 99% crab with a little bit of stuff we purchased at the Queen Anne Farmers Market to hold them together: brand new potatoes baked with olive oil and rosemary, and sautéed summer squash and caramelized onions with  herbs. (Can you stand it? Are you ready to rush out and cook and enjoy the wonderful tastes of fresh grown

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An Entirely New Game: Life 2.0

By Kevin Brown | Bio

Increasingly I find myself thinking about the word
retirement and whether it has the appeal that it once had for the mature
worker. I remember, as if it were yesterday, my father talking about how he was
looking forward to retirement. After working long hours and raising a family,
there just did not seem much time for anything else. Through much of his
mid-life, my dad’s job (conductor for the

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Retirement and Choice

By Kevin Brown | Bio

In my previous post, I mentioned two books that I was in the process of reading, Ken Dychtwald’s "With Purpose" and Don Tapscott’s "Grown Up Digital".  Ken’s book calls us to consider how we will spend our time and apply our life experience in the later stages of our life. Don’s book has us consider the impact the ‘Net Generation’ is having on the world at large. I have only begun to read "Grown up Digital" and already I am reading it from the perspective of aging. While considering the impact of the ‘Net Generation’, I am really listening for "What does this mean to the generation of baby boomers (my generation) that is about to retire and how will it directly or indirectly influence our generation’s impact on society going forward?" Traveling regularly back and forth between Calgary and Edmonton (the two largest cities in Alberta, Canada) allows me to interact with the many friends I have made in both of the cities in which I have grown up, gone to school, worked, and contributed socially.  For many of my friends and I, our conversations are increasingly turning to the subject of retirement. For some, retirement is eagerly anticipated and just a few short years away. For others, it is on the mind, but seen as something that will occur five to ten years in the future. The question that I have been asking my friends when the discussion turns to retirement is, "Could we have a more powerful discussion about our future by focusing on possibility?" One doesn’t have to spend much time researching aging to conclude that life expectancy continues to increase (in Canada 83 for women and 78 for men and in the United States 81 for women and 73 for men). There is every likelihood that, with the constant improvements in medicine and in health and wellness research and practices, we will continue to live longer lives with greater levels of health.  If, therefore, we can reasonably expect to live into our mid to late 80s with healthy bodies and minds, then how will we spend our time and contribute the best of ourselves back into society?  What if our focus were to shift from one of "Retirement" to one of "Choice"? Each calls us to consider very different possibilities for aging. Webster defines retirement as "withdrawal, as in withdrawal from one’s occupation or profession". Choice is defined as "the opportunity and power to choose or reject a possibility". Shifting our focus from one of "withdrawal" (in which the future is defined by our past and we see only diminishing opportunities) to one of "choosing” (in which the future offers endless possibilities for us to choose) creates an opening for action and contribution and engagement.

At the Eldering Institute, we speak of "Eldering" as a way of being in which we are creating purpose and mastery in later life. One of our program offerings is "Eldering: The alternative to retirement". This interactive one-day workshop is intended for individuals who are focused on choosing how they relate to their future. Eldering is a masterful way of relating to the rest of our lives—one

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