Conscious Aging: Thinking About the Rest of Your Life

Column By Ann Shafer

This column is the first in a monthly series featuring life after retirement or after 60. 

If you are at that stage in your life, perhaps you have wondered what you are going to do with the rest of your life. 

You may have 20 or 30 years left to live; plus, like many in this age bracket, chances are you are in good physical and mental health.

There is a movement called Conscious Aging, which advocates exploring one’s life with the ultimate goal of leading a productive, meaningful life. 

Your elder years can be the richest stage of your life—a stage in which you can discover new interests, volunteer to help others, take up new creative ventures, or follow old interests that were put aside during your younger, busier life.

There are a number of advantages in growing older. 

Your children are grown and usually on their own, most of us have retired, and most of us have the time to develop new interests. 

Plus we all hope that we have gained some wisdom after living through all those past years.

As we age, we can look deeply within at that which gives us meaning in our lives. 

What do you passionately care about? What service can you give to others? What gives you reason to get up and going in the morning? What legacy will you leave behind? What are the over-riding purposes in your life?

Knowing the purposes in your life can provide a focus and can energize your life. These don’t have to be “grand” purposes. 

One could be to be a positive influence for your grandchildren. 

Others could be to live a healthy lifestyle, to help and serve others or to express yourself creatively. 

Perhaps you have wanted to learn a new language well enough so that you could visit another country and actually be able to converse with residents.  

Or maybe you have long held a dream to learn how to play a musical instrument.

This series of columns will cover various aspects of Conscious Aging with the goal of providing positive direction in the aging process. 

Aging can be much more than sitting in a rocking chair pondering all the aches and pains in your life. 

Don’t throw out the rocking chair, but sit and rock in it as you study a new interest!

Editor’s note: Ann Shafer is a social worker who until recently was working with frail elderly through the Betty Ehart Senior Center. She is also a certified Sage-ing Leader in the national Sage-ing Guild.

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