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AGE OBSESSION
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AGE OBSESSION

© 2011, Joyce A. Kovelman, Ph.D.

 

As I approached my seventy fifth birthday, I became obsessed with the issue of Age and Aging. At 40, I was already declared, "Over the Hill." I wondered what 75 would mean. Was I old and soon to be discarded and forgotten or ?

 

I noticed that we presently lived in the Age of Reason, and have passed through an Age of Infamy. Once upon a time, our world passed through the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras long before humankind walked upon the Earth. Furthermore, Earth has experienced ice ages, dark ages, bronze and iron ages, and the Age of Enlightenment, just to name a few. Indeed, every era is an Age.

 

We speak of young age, teen-age, middle age, and old age. A debut signifies that a young lady has "come of Age." Our world has also experienced the Industrial Age and has entered a New Age and a New Millennium. There has even been recognition of an Age of Wisdom.

People collect ancient artifacts with the greatest of enthusiasm and speak reverently about the gifts of ancient cultures. Even old furniture, known as antiques, are regarded with great respect and sell for very high prices, simply because they are old.

 

So why is it, that a woman is considered over the hill at 40, and ready to be discarded and abandoned after 75 years? Why do I have to wait until I am 76 years of "age" to claim my power and wisdom. Does wisdom have any age or is it truly ageless? The maturity and experience which accompanies aging is a wonderful container for wisdom, but wisdom can be received at any age.

 

Age can be a great time of releasing and letting go: We lose sight and hearing, mates and friends, our roles and jobs, sometimes our ability to walk and to drive, even our homes. It is in the same of Emptiness, that one makes a space for receiving. And wisdom is not found in books or magazines. It is attained only through experience and the inner journeys of the Soul. So let us recognize that the time of Sage and Crone are often the best years of life. We achieve the freedom to simply be, to explore, to grow and to spiritually awaken, if we have not done so at an earlier age.

 

America is a young country of nearly 237 years. We are a nation of great ideals, passion, youthfulness and individuality. Indeed, the U. S. actually worships the young and many women are willing to look young at any cost (including tummy tucks, face lifts, and breast implants). Europe, on the other hand, is steeped in the tradition and history of many ages and its roots grow deeper. Europeans seem to prefer women who have "ripened", like a well-aged wine. Only then, do they consider a person of value and mature.

 

So how do we turn this Age obsession into one that allows all ages to grow and to contribute? How do we turn the experience and maturity of our elders into an asset? Most often, we punish and abandon our wisdom-keepers to old-age homes because they have dared to grow old and remind us of our own mortality? Can we recognize the values of a long-life and the insight it bestows?

It is time to treasure and cherish our wisdom-keepers in the same way we do our ancient relics and antiques? Is there not great value in a life well lived?

Earth's population is graying and living longer. As more and more of Earth's people age, we will be challenged to shift our values, along with our medical, social and political systems in order to support their needs. We must begin to recycle our elders and allow them to take their rightful place in society. If we do not allow our ancient ones to speak and to walk among us, it is we, twenty years from now, who will inherit this same legacy. Thus, it is necessary to recognize the mysteries of life and the wisdom that comes with Age. To do so, is to harvest the myriad of benefits that are ours whenever we embrace the Wisdom Age.

 
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