When I turned 55 I started saying “I’m almost 60”.
Dana, my sweetheart and life partner, said “hardly!” But I persisted.
By 59 it became “I’m 60”, as it was the beginning of my 60th year. Soon enough on December 8th, 2015, Dana put on a warm love fest for me, with close friends and family on hand to tell me stories and usher me into what I began to call my “eldering years”.
Now my rallying cry is “Elder earlier!” Grab eldering and embrace it, clinging to youth is a losing game that no one can win. Don’t waste years fighting something that’s slipping away. Instead why not prepare for the best part of aging? You have a chance to share what matters. You have built perspective, experience, and maybe even a few insights along the way and it’s time to share them while coherency and clarity remain within grasp. With good fortune you have energy, you are still productive, and you have what may be the peak period of confidence combined with relevance that you have earned through all the twists and turns of life.
I gave myself a “PhD in eldering” and it was a signal to myself to kick it up with whatever privilege and opportunities, good luck and experience, and hard work of living the best life I could have imagined.
It’s high time to share. People may care. And I believe there is an inherent human responsibility to pass along whatever we can, as our deep prayer for the people and world that will follow.
My responsibilities were shifting. I had naturally begun moving from roles where I carried the central load, to those where my experience was my best contribution – supporting younger leaders, freelance helping, advising, and sipping the delicious joy of watching and learning from others.
Nothing slowed. I’m not talking about “retirement”. I am at my prime sweet spot, where I can be more valuable for my insight, relationships, and accumulated experience, beyond my hard labor.
Now it’s time to look back over the decades at the mistakes, the idealism, the dreams and hopes, the crushing blows, the victories, the disenchantments, the failures, the glorious unexpected accomplishments, the surprise joys, the well earned blemishes, the scars, and the love wounds.
Elder Earlier. Pass on everything you can. Do it while you can enjoy it best. Open up for the bliss of learning from the younger ones and watching them grow and flower.
Writing a book forced me to carve out time to be with myself again, to flip back through the mental and emotional files, to synthesize, and to fight for coherent language, storytelling and vision for the future.
My intention is to be as useful and supportive, as engaged and immersed, as joyous and generous, as life and practice will empower.
I set out to learn a new craft and trade. I got lots of help. I invested time, money, emotion, and inspiration. Many advisors, close friends, and many unsuspecting, even random, people I encountered played supporting roles, gave jewels of perspective, and pearls of reflection, and they all guided me down the path of understanding just what the word “book” now means in the 21st century. As a beneficiary of privilege, living in one of the safest, wealthiest, relative freedoms of choice geographies, in the advanced stage capitalist framework of these times, I was fortunate enough to decide, turn towards, embrace, struggle with, and invest myself into attempting to share a word poetry that might serve to inspire and shift a course or two.
I’ll continue to delve into what inspired The Clean Money Revolution and my “eldering” journey in upcoming blog posts.