I recently watched the movie "Last Vegas", the 2013 comedy about four senior-aged men who fly off to Las Vegas to be "bad boys" and throw a wild bachelor party for one of the fellows who is about to marry his 31-year-old girlfriend.
The four "seniors" are actors Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline. These seniors are all amazing men I've been watching since I was a kid and they were in their 20s! So I could totally relate, and it kinda stung, to watch the scenes with younger people patronizing and treating them as less competent, less valuable, and less attractive. I was especially touched by the poignant scene in which the playboy of the group, Billy (played by Michael), painfully admits his fear of aging, how hard it is to look older, and his regrets for years gone by.
On the brighter side, these stars along with the lovely and talented Mary Steenburgen, did a fantastic job of breaking the stereotype by exemplifying their vitality and zest for life that's possible at anytime in life.
Nonetheless, as a result of watching that flick, I feel compelled to address this NATURAL part of life, bringing to light the truth and beauty of every age, and how we should all respect and accept ourselves and others -- at every age!
As a professional Coach in "midlife" myself, one of my favorite jobs is to remind all of my clients -- who range in age from the teens into the 90s -- that life is meant to be lived fully at every age and that it's never too late to go after and manifest our heartfelt and highest good goals.
In fact, once you move into midlife, which is between 40-ish and 60-ish, it's more important than ever to have and actively pursue meaningful goals. Why? Because this is often the time that many people begin to lose hope or even give up on the idea of a purposeful and rewarding life.
Thrive or Dive -- It's Your Choice
While studying for my Master's degree in Psychology at USM, I read selected works of Erik Erikson, the Danish-German-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on human social development.
He identifies this midlife age stage as "middle adulthood", and describes the main conflict as "Generativity vs. Stagnation". The main question is "Will I produce something of real value?", and the virtue is "Care". Care in this context is very potent when we see it as care for the well being of self, our loved ones, society, and the earth as a whole. "Generativity" relates to ways of living that support higher social values and help to guide future generations. In contrast, "Stagnation" relates to ways of living that lack productivity and do not help the positive evolution of society at large.
When clients first come to me, it's often because they have given up on some level in one or more areas of their lives, and are seeking help in moving out of stagnation and discouragement into more productive, rewarding, and inspired lives. The good news is -- the clients who deliberately choose generativity reach their goals and live more inspired lives than ever before.
And let's face it -- discouragement about one's life can happen at any age! And then the same movement into generativity applies!
It Takes Guts to Live Life
I feel compassion for all of us, and especially for those of us who are entering the natural phase of midlife and the elder years. It's not for the faint of heart. It takes hope, courage, strength, confidence, persistence, patience, resilience, a sense of humor, and a high level of awareness to navigate this time of life. And it's admittedly also a time when we may face a multitude of inner critical voices, the cruel opinions of the misinformed in a culture that's obsessed with youth, unwelcome physical transformations, surprising life changes, and a host of other challenging dragons.
But do we really have a choice? Yes, we can consciously and deliberately choose Life. The other choice is stagnation, which leads to atrophy, which leads to 'living death'. Why not save death for the last breath?!
The Purpose of Life is a Life of Purpose (Robert Byrne)
My premise and what I've lived by to the best of my ability since I was a teenager, is that everyone is born and comes here with a life curriculum (or a master plan) and specific goals to achieve that support the positive evolution of humans and all life. And that the purpose of all our years here on the Earth is to see, experience, explore, and complete the major themes that we dance with as we live our curriculums.
This includes learning to love and honor ourselves, embracing the journey of life in all its normalcy, glory, and struggle, and being kind and supportive to our loved ones and others and all of life and nature and the Earth -- along the way.
That means every minute, every year we are here and alive is important and valuable. That means being in our 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond is equally important and as our childhood, teens, 20s, 30s, and 40s. In fact, most of us need all the years we can get in order to achieve and enjoy the rewards of our sacred life master plans. The more we live, the more life we are filled with, and the more we can support others.
Life is a garden and we are the fruit! And fruit is most delicious when ripe! So cherish your life, and definitely cherish your elders!
From the heart, Coach Maddisen
"Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" -- Mary Oliver.
"We begin aging the moment we're born! So embrace and respect life at every age!" - Maddisen Krown.
"The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes." By architect Frank Lloyd Wright who lived to be 92.
"You're never too old to become younger." By actress Mae West who lived to be 88.
Copyright 2015 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.