Is Conscious Eldering a fad or a true paradigm shift? Your perspective is requested.

By Ron Pevny

In mid-July I will be participating in a panel discussion in which several of us who are seen as leaders in the “conscious aging movement” will be exploring with each other the state of our efforts in today’s culture to support people in growing into a conscious elderhood. We are meeting because we sense that the wind has diminished that is needed to fill the sails that propel this necessary cultural transformation. I’m writing this article for the “Conscious Eldering Inspiration and Resources” newsletter to ask for your perspective, which you will have an opportunity to share on the Center for Conscious Eldering website.

So, I’ll begin this article with a story. Once upon a time, not so very long ago, Ram Dass, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Joan Halifax, and several other highly regarded teachers presented several conferences at Omega Institute in which they articulated a vision for living life’s later chapters, which became known as “Conscious Aging.” This was, (and is) an empowering, life-affirming, spiritually grounded alternative to the dominant societal view of the post-retirement years as being primarily defined by disengagement from contribution to society, doing one’s best to ward off decline and diminishment, and focusing on maximizing pleasure and security.

Conscious Aging is predicated upon the understanding, shared by most cultures until the industrial revolution, of the potential of life’s later chapters to be the pinnacle of human emotional and spiritual growth, and a time of special service to the community which emerges from this growth. In the years since those seminal Omega retreats and Zalman Schachter-Shalomi’s groundbreaking book, From Age-ing to Sage-ing, many of us who have embraced this vision and felt called to share it through our writing, workshops and other venues have chosen to use the term “Conscious Eldering” in recognition of the fact that life’s later years offer the opportunity for people to emerge from mid-life adulthood into a culminating stage of personal development called “Elderhood.” Others favor the term “Conscious Aging,”

Materialistic contemporary societies have lost sight of the potentials and dynamics of the human psyche as we grow through life’s stages. We do not have spiritually and emotionally empowering rites of passage, and have little if any recognition of the inner work that our psyches require for us to grow from stage to stage—with each stage offering the opportunity for us to move closer to inner wholeness. Therefore, our culture offers those nearing “retirement age” no vision for the possibility of growth into elderhood. So the best the majority of us can hope for is to hold on for as long as possible to who we have been, be as secure as possible, and find as much enjoyment as we can (and can afford).

The last 20 or 30 years have seen the emergence of paradigms for aging which are empowering in some important ways, but sorely lacking in others. We are all familiar with terms like Positive Aging, Active Aging, Successful Aging, Refirement-rather-than- Retirement, etc. All of these approaches help to support aliveness and provide the opportunity to be seen as relevant, and to feel relevant) which is so critical as we age. But they generally lack recognition of the needs of our inner selves—our souls—for bringing forth the wholeness and wisdom of elderhood. With their focus on activity and “doing”, they do not recognize the importance of the inner journey of aging, of the necessary focus on the state of our “being” if we are to realize our potential for growth and fulfillment in our later life chapters.

So, with this context being set, the story continues:

In the year 2000, I knew that my decades-long calling to support people in moving through transition was leading me to focus on the life passage into elderhood. I was privileged to learn from many teachers who were models of what conscious aging/conscious eldering can be. And to witness the aspirations and challenges of those dedicated people who came to our workshops and retreats having responded to an inner call to grow into an elderhood they had a “knowing” was possible and important for them. I gave heart and soul to this work, but for many years it was a struggle to attract participants, with my work and that of my colleagues being largely a labor of love and commitment to a deep calling from our souls.

As I persisted, as did an increasing number of others who felt this same calling and shared their vision through their writing and workshops, the cultural milieu began to change. There was increasing interest in conscious aging. This fact, and a personal health crisis that forced me to acknowledge the importance to my wellbeing of making an unequivocal commitment to this work, resulted in my starting the Center for Conscious Eldering in 2010. I found the adage to be true that when one makes a total commitment, life offers unexpected support. Our workshops began to fill and workshop invitations increased significantly. I was invited to give keynotes at conferences on aging. Beyond Words Publishing called me in 2012 asking if I would write a book for them. I did, with my book being titled Conscious Living, Conscious Aging. The Shift Network in 2015 asked me to host their first three Summits on Conscious Aging, because they saw strong and growing interest in this subject. This gave me the opportunity to interview nearly 60 leaders working in a great many ways to empower older adults. They also asked me to present two online courses called “Transforming Your Journey of Aging.” And I was blessed with other wonderful opportunities.

I was so grateful that my work the work of many others in this field was thriving, and that it seemed conscious aging/conscious eldering was making inroads in modern culture. It seemed like our vision of a culture in which true elders play an honored and important role was attainable, slowly but surely, eventually.

And then, a year or two before the pandemic, I sensed a change in this momentum. The invitations to present were not coming. The Shift Network and other such spiritually oriented organizations that reach large numbers of people told me they would no longer present Summits on aging because other topics attracted greater numbers of registrants and generated more income. Their schedules of summits and courses, throughout the pandemic and as COVID eases, includes courses on all kinds of worthy personal growth topics which attract the large numbers of participants they need to be financially viable, but do not include conscious aging (or anything explicitly about aging). To my mind, their choices communicate the message that there is nothing unique about the challenges faced by, and the potentials that seek to be awakened in, the millions of people entering a distinctive stage of life that has distinctive synamics. Their choices imply that Meditation is meditation and the same for everyone. Dreamwork is dreamwork and the same for everyone. Shamanic practices are Shamanic practices and the same for everyone. Mysticism is mysticism and…….

Another example: In 2018 and 2019 I taught two modestly enrolled courses at Omega which were very well received. As much as I would like to return to Omega I no longer have that option because I am told other topics and more-famous teachers generate more enrollments and revenue.

And most recently, as Katia Petersen and I have attempted to find a publisher for our unique new book-in-the-making, The Art of Conscious Eldering: a 52-Week Personal Growth-Book for Aging with Passion and Purpose, Beyond Words and others have told us that they love our book and feel it makes an important contribution, but their research shows that conscious eldering/conscious aging is not a topic that will sell enough copies to warrant their publishing our book. They said the field is saturated with books on aging. When we asked them why they do not feel the same way about the innumerable books being published on Mindfulness, they did not have an answer.

So, that’s the story so far. Now here’s where I ask for your input. I assume you would not be on our email list if you did not resonate to some degree or other with the vision of conscious eldering. And you may well have a more accurate sense of societal culture at this moment than those of us working in the conscious aging field and being so emotionally and spiritually invested in it.

So, before I join the upcoming panel to explore the state of conscious aging, I ask for your feedback to the following questions. You can provide it on our website, www.centerforconsciouseldering.com, by clicking on the “Feedback” link at the end of this article which has been placed on the Home Page. You can also email me with input at ron@centerforconsciouseldering.com. Thank you for reading this article and sharing you feedback if that feels right to you.

  • Do you think the conscious aging/conscious eldering movement indeed lost momentum in the past two or three of years? If so, why do you think this is happening?
  • It has been suggested that factors such as the Trump presidency, the pandemic, climate change, Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements, have somehow shifted peoples’ energy and focus away from their growth in their elder years. Do you think this is so, and if so, why? Isn’t ageism and lack of awareness of the potentials of elder adults as insidious, life-draining, and disempowering as these other issues?
  • Does the conscious aging movement need to find other ways of communicating about elderhood? If so, how should we do this, and do so in a way that doesn’t dilute our message?
  • Am I (and others) having unnecessary concern about this? Should we just go on sharing our vision of conscious elderhood without concern with how many books we sell or summits we get invited to?
  • Do you have any other input you would like us to take into consideration?

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! May we all choose to live our later chapters as the elders our world so urgently needs.

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18 Comments

  1. I think that ageism is as important as racism and sexism, and should be taken seriously.

    At the same time, one of the great things about the internet is that it is possible to reach smaller groups of people in a meaningful way. You may need critical mass in your audience to book a large conference venue or publish with a publishing house, but online you can reach very specific niches without needing to prove that there is a big enough audiences. You can also grow your audience without having to get permission from a publisher or promoter.

    Self-publishing, testing different kinds of messages, and tracking down new audiences through social media are all realistic choices with our new technologies.

  2. The impact of the pandemic and the political negativity over the past few years has been overwhelmingly disheartening and isolating, These factors, at this later stage of life, as my children move away and my parents frailty is more obvious have forced me me into a recognition that I am now in a different generation. Also, the more familiar avenues of “connecting” on important social values seem less effective, due to the increasing polarization of the community. This has also been both dispiriting and confusing. Throughout this past year, I have found this resource to be a great source of support and have been reenergized by a number of the on-line Age-ing and Sage-ing programs. While I am new to this group, it provides a place where I feel there is wisdom to receive and to give. It is a wonderful resource for which I am immensely grateful.Despite the numerous other causes, this one is eternal and addresses one of the supremely human challenges from which none of us is immune and
    the programming is sophisticated and well developed.

    It is my greatest hope that lack of support from the original supporters of Conscious Eldering Group is seen more as an overwhelming of the needs to address the numerous current pressures as opposed to a signal that the mission is any less significant. I believe there are many people, such as myself, eager and excited about involvement and support for more programming. I remain very grateful for all the inspiration and guidance from this group that I have received in this relatively short time.

  3. I’m amazed that these problems are occurring, your work is so valuable. But then, I’m amazed by a lot of things these days. Don’t change too much, neither your wording nor your message; let folks grow into it. They will. As to where to offer, how about asking each of your website-reachout members to send a suggestion? Mine is, inquire where there are elders; for instance, Port Townsend Washington is a jumping little town culturally, yet a large proportion or people are older. Quimper Unitarian Church seems to be a center for lots of community-wide exciting guests and classes.
    Another aspect: money. I know, travel costs a lot and your livelihood takes what it takes. But many (like me) simply don’t have the dough to go, often those who need your message most. Another thing to ask about? (“How can we make workshops affordable for most?”)

  4. 1. Do you think the conscious aging/conscious eldering movement indeed lost momentum in the past two or three of years? If so, why do you think this is happening?

    You are in the best position to know the answer to this question, and in your essay your have demonstrated that the interest is less. When you read my comments, you need to know that I am writing from Cape Town South Africa where I have, in association with the University of the Third Age, been running a group on Conscious Ageing for the past 12 years. However, since going in to the zoom room many of the participants were not able to make the switch and have dropped out. However, I have started two new initiatives based on tedcircles.com, and Valerie Kaur’s work on See No Stranger. Both these topics give me the opportunity to talk about Conscious Ageing transcendentally!

    2. It has been suggested that factors such as the Trump presidency, the pandemic, climate change, Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements, have somehow shifted peoples’ energy and focus away from their growth in their elder years. Do you think this is so, and if so, why? Isn’t ageism and lack of awareness of the potentials of elder adults as insidious, life-draining, and disempowering as these other issues?

    I do believe that it is important to include the existential threats which are facing us in the light of the pandemic into our work of conscious ageing. It is important for each generation to make their contribution. We need to be educated on the need for us to change our patterns of consumption. We cannot continue to exploit the planets natural resources in the manner we have in the past. Whatever our age we should be aware of our contribution to our own footprint. It is important to educate our peers on the manner in which they can make their personal contribution to the future health of our planet. It is also incumbent on each and every one of us to develop ways in which we can influence the present political leaders as well as leaders of industry to make decisions based on the long term health of the planet. I believe this is part of Conscious Ageing as is the awareness and knowledge that over our life time we have not exercised the respect we need for indigenous populations or members of other ethnic groups.

    3. Does the conscious aging movement need to find other ways of communicating about elderhood? If so, how should we do this, and do so in a way that doesn’t dilute our message?

    Yes, we need to include things like mindfulness training, climate change awareness, and anti-racial stereotypes into our programs.

    4.Am I (and others) having unnecessary concern about this? Should we just go on sharing our vision of conscious elderhood without concern with how many books we sell or summits we get invited to?

    In my opinion your concern is justified. As seniors we need to “Adapt or Die”. We need to be aware of the changes in our societal values and in developments of technology into our mix. Conscious Ageing does not exist in a vacuum Insights need to incorporate changes in social values eg gender stereotypes, and technological changes eg Artificial Intelligence

    Do you have any other input you would like us to take into consideration?

    You have stated yourself, that your popularity has waned during the past few years. This must be an indication that the values of the incoming senior generation need to be incorporated into conscious ageing. Particularly in a post pandemic era those of us who are interested in conscious ageing need to review our approach and maybe do some research into the expressed needs of our population!

  5. I believe that empowering for conscious aging is definitely relevant and sorely needed. I know there are people who are aging that need a new shift and specific attention to age related concerns and experiences . There is a big umbrella under which many aging mindbody needs and concerns can be addressed .
    The need is great . Identifying / targeting the population is tricky .
    What is needed is a user friendly , nationwide program that can be local . It has to be easily accessible , affordable , and very validating . I’m thinking – something like a Consciousness Club which locally trained elders could teach through local recreational
    Programs , senior citizen centers , etc . Programs that are too erudite , abstract or philosophical are not easily translated . I love erudite, philosophical , abstract but I’m probably in the minority .
    I’m a retired teacher . I know from experience that the way you package and present your message is very important .

  6. Evelyn Maja Kaltenbach

    Dear Ron – many thoughts course through my mind as I attempt a few lines of input into your questions.
    One is: Have you read (heard of) Stephen Jenkinson’s book Come of Age – The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble? It strikes me as an important read these days.
    Second: In your second paragraph you mention “…focusing on maximizing pleasure and security.” Aye… that – to me – is NOT what elderhood is about. Neither pleasure nor security are worth anything, really. It’s about being here, accepting what is and working with whatever this may be in whatever mature way we can.
    We don’t need a ‘movement’ nor do we need to control anything. We make aware, provide support if needed – and trust life. And if the books don’t sell, well, perhaps that is as it needs to be also.
    Hope is not what we need either – it’s about being hope-free and expectation-free and acting as a mature human with humility, courage and compassion.
    What else is there?
    With best wishes and in gratitude.

  7. Very good questions, I notice other priorities like dealing with necessities of life and the pandemic have taken precedence over spiritual growth. One would think safer at home time would bring spirituality more to the forefront though I have not seen that happen as yet. I do think compassion, less consumerism, less materialism are being felt and experienced. Now to show people how to continue to live fulfilling and contributing lives. Perhaps asking directly how has dealing with the pandemic affected you as we begin to return to social gatherings and resume routines. In our community in rural central Colorado we are more concerned about the isolation of our elder population and the need to connect and share life has purpose and meaning beyond self care. In fact caring for others, reaching out is an important aspect of self care. I look forward to hearing your suggestions so we participate in sharing recognition of conscious eldering.

  8. Ron,
    I read the Newsletters and am lost in the absence of solid technique provided….a good deal of ephemeral words that are lost on me. The importance of your work is not well defined.

    The latest craze is to jump on Zoom and YouTube…you should investigate the possibility…. Can the message only be experienced through physical contact?

    Even an association with AARP might be useful? Explore other avenues elders are associated with or subscribe to.

    Have a great new beginning in Ft. Collins…….you’ll soon be an adjunct professor….

  9. Ron, for me it’s a paradigm shift. It’s happening in later life despite all my years on a psycho-spiritual path. That search had been hindered by wandering in the desert, ie. creating the comfort zone, impacted by materialism in the culture. At age 75 life pushed me out of that comfort zone and I had to pass through one of the gates of grief. That meant leaving my community/sangha where I was not growing. Two years ago intuition told me I had to take plant medicines and participate in the psychedelic renaissance. I went underground and since then a circle of men, not all retired like myself, has grown revealing deep love and support. It’s on the local level. I myself am experiencing a profound appearance of the true self, of the elder, of the spirit coming through. Years of shadow work has me now opening to the interpersonal realm of authenticity and groundedness. We are coming alive and healing one another. I am also seeing the collective shadow and suffering and holding it with compassion. Furthermore, I am aware of the soul need to touch this collective with light. I’m on the edge, though, learning patience, trust, and surrender, knowing the tricks of the ego. I don’t put much into identifying with the body’s age. At 78 I’m tapping into something ageless. I am also aware of the classical societies and their wisdom of recognizing the final stage of life as one of devotion to liberation. I believe it’s truly happening in America, in little pockets.

  10. Ron,
    I’ve discussed your post with my brother and his wife(fellow elders):
    The pandemic et al have drawn attention away from Conscious Eldering. Of course CE is every bit as important as Black Lives and Earth’s precarious position. The other issues should not draw you (us) away from this important work. We should focus our efforts on our own communities. Connecting with our friends and neighbors at churches, grange halls and senior centers. You could expand your voice with AARP or blogging (story telling is so powerful). Don’t quit you’ve (we’ve) just begun. We’ll miss you in Drgo!!

  11. Ron, you are a recognised leader in this shared paradigm shift of global consciousnesses and your contribution enables individuals to make their own conscious spiritual awareness choices. We are all one body of souls on a spirit’ journey regardless of our choices, cultures, or beliefs. Each contributes to the other which means we all grow whether conscious of it or not. THANK YOU RON from down-under Australia.

  12. Dear Ron:
    I found your question interesting about why the demand/popularity of the work you do has dropped off in the past few years. This is just my speculation with no data behind it, but I think this work is emotionally and spiritually difficult. To do a deep accounting of one’s life and to face death is difficult, particularly in a culture stuck in adolescence as ours is. I think it is easier to do any specific difficult thing if the rest of a person’s life is stable and feels safe. The Trump years were (are) the antithesis of stable and safe. Every day a new tweet and the continuing revelation that half of America seemingly applauds the lunacy. It’s hard to feel safe when your next door neighbor supports someone who supports people who killed your relatives (I’m Jewish, but this applies to all sorts of people).
    One last point. I think people who don’t feel grounded seek quick fixes and there’s nothing quick or easy about your work. Maybe a book of exercises entitled “How to become a Spiritual Elder in 28 days” would sell better (tongue only somewhat in cheek)
    Though I have never attended any of your work, I want to thank you for it and look forward to maybe meeting you some day in the future.

    Jared Gellert

  13. Dennis Stamper

    Ron,
    It is difficult for me to comment on historical trends as I have only been aware of and involved in conscious eldering for the past three or four years. I can speak from my own experience however, and I can truly say that the work of you and other leaders in the sage-ing/conscious eldering community has been transformational for me. Attending your Choosing Conscious Elderhood and Next Steps retreats changed fundamentally how I understand growing older and how I am now living into my own aging.

    The need for elders in our culture (as always I suppose) is crucial in our time. The elders of the world are as important as the mother trees in the forest. They seed and nurture, shelter and hold good ground for the next generation. They remember a different time, a time when generosity was more highly valued than self-interest, when kindness and listening and sometimes compromise were seen as strength and not weakness.

    But far too many elders (or potential elders) are failing to hear this call. Our culture continues to teach us that growing old is a time to disengage and “enjoy life”. They tell us that we “deserve” to rest and play and we are largely unaware of how this is really a form of agism. Whether we are kicked to the side of the road or gently rolled there, we are still left on the side of the road.

    So although the challenges are great in changing our cultural prejudice toward aging and though it is difficult to reach those elders who have fully bought into these expectations, I think it is still important work to do and perhaps more important than it has ever been. I hope and trust that the group of wise elders that I have been privileged to come to know, with the help and encouragement of people like you, can persist even in a time of drought and can find new ways to expand and deepen the community of elders.

  14. Ron, you are an well-respected leader of a global movement, one that I have been following for a few years now. Thank you for the work you have done and continue to do.
    I believe that the past few years, when the world has been swept up in dealing with the global pandemic, has been difficult for elders as we dealt with personal health and sheer survival. The people of the US and Canada have had to deal with broader political issues that affected all of us emotionally: George Floyd, Donald Trump, the growth of racism, the residual horror of Canadian residential schools.
    I believe that we need you and the Conscious Eldering movement now more than ever. We need you to help us find the “new normal” and to reconnect within our own communities and the broader community of those seeking deeper meaning at this stage in our lives. Use other platforms to get your message out, if need be. But please continue to write, to hold workshops, to speak to groups.

  15. If we define our relevancy by how many books we sell or summit invitations we receive, we have just handed over our power to ego and outside forces. As elders we know better than that. We define our own worth. Our own relevancy.

    If we wish to live relevant lives, then it is up to us to do so, as each of us chooses what is relevant on our unique paths. We are like spiders, spinning our own webs from our inner resources. I think it is a mistake to look externally to the exclusion of elders from media, such as published books, online elder workshops, and elder programs offered by larger institutions. These are businesses with a focus on profit. The tastes of the public masses are fluid and fickle, always changing, and such businesses will offer what brings in the money. They do not define our relevancy.

    Our focus should be on our personal choice to live relevant lives, rather than on expectations of external recognition.
    If we believe a relevant life is being able to offer our wisdom to others, as a form of service, then we do so, whether in an organized way or in more subtle exchanges with those we meet along our path.
    Rather than believe that the world at large is not interested in the Elder or Sage archetype, I think it has more to do with our present times and the issues being played out as we churn through chaos and disorder, a necessary stretch of rough waters before arriving in the calmer pool of Coherence. Such issues as MeToo, Earth-honouring, Rising and/or equalization of the Divine Feminine. There is a role for elders in all of these, especially as Active Listeners.
    And Elder indigenous voices are certainly being heard, as they move to reclaim what was taken from them so long ago. Having participated in such online programs over the past two years, elder indigenous programs are well attended.

    If in-person Elder retreats are enjoying capacity numbers, with waiting lists, this suggests the interest is there, and an in-person format is perhaps more comfortable and preferable for those living their Elder years.

    If we individually choose to live a relevant life, with relevancy defined by each one of us, then we do not leave ourselves vulnerable to marketing trends. To think of elderhood as a fad because it no longer sells is like saying the day no one buys a book about planet Earth, that means the planet no longer matters. Beware the vortex of victim-thinking. As elders, we know better.

    Live the life you wish it to be….if you want to be relevant, then live a relevant life, as defined by you on your terms, as chosen by you, a life transcending ego, without attachment to the outcome. How others perceive us, as to whether we are relevant or not, is not for us to own. (Submitted by Wendy Dudley, Eco-Spiritist Healer, Journalist/Author and Visual Artist)

  16. LORNA CHERITON

    I have not been aware of less interest in conscious eldering, but Ron’s article indicates a reduced interest existing now in publishers and in those organizing conferences. Perhaps the current interest in BLM, the pandemic etc has diverted interest from eldering just now, even though eldering wisely remains just as important and those other issues could be considered from the special vantage point that elders have. Also, to use the idea of seasons from another article in the fall newsletter, perhaps this is a wintering time for books and councils, to be following by renewed growth in some areas we may not yet know about.’

    That the retreats for fall 2021 are full with waiting lists suggests to me great interest in experiential explorations in-person, with other like-minded people, and that that modality may be the one to emphasize at present. What about TED talks as well?

    In our 2019 Omega retreat, Ron, you shared that you are feeling called to concentrate increasingly on your own personal journey. Perhaps your apprenticing or mentoring other “elders on the journey” could ultimately give you more time for your personal journey and also help spread the awareness of eldering wisely and help expand the circle of people seeking to grow to conscious elderhood, including with new leaders facilitating small groups. With my church’s congregation having many older people, I am considering suggesting the creation of conscious eldering learning circles as part of our adult Christian Education.

    A conscious elder within my congregation has noted the “white privilege” involved in current conscious eldering. People of color tend to have shorter lives in general and fewer resources available to attend retreats. How can we help make BIPOC people more aware of eldering learning and involvement opportunities and how can we make those opportunities more affordable and accessible?

  17. Catherine Armstrong

    We boomers started out as dreamers and went looking for fulfillment. We quickly learned that what counted was doing, not dreaming. We worked on stopping the war and increasing human rights. Along the way, many of us became workaholics and focused on accumulating.
    You can see a sense of entitlement in our generation in how we denigrate the generations after us and how we still expect to be the leading generation.
    Having said all that, I think that many of us of this generation are longing to return to a time of reflection and purpose. I think you could reference the idealism of our early years and connect it to wisdom and contribution in our later years. Many of us are still working because we love what we do, are still healthy and have much to contribute. Still, we see that our days of doing what we’ve always been doing are numbered.
    It may be a while before people want to return to large gatherings and many read blogs and articles over books. I’m sure others have mentioned you might want to pivot (trendy word) to providing your book as an online paid program.
    I’ve been thinking this through as I was writing, so my thoughts may not be totally clear
    Your messages are important and will continue to resonate with seekers. Keep your hope alive and find new ways to meet people where they are now.

  18. Carole Witkowski

    Ron, I just finished your book and in the past week have shared it with many of my friends and colleagues. I was downsized out of a long held Human Resource executive position in January, and have decided on spending the balance of my career focusing on my coaching practice. I want to help younger leaders navigate their careers and have a fulfilling life experience, rather than giving it all up to corporate America.

    I’m 60, and just 2 years ago I lost my husband of 35 years. After working for 42 years for the same company, he retired because his body could no longer do the job. I watched his spirits wither away and his health diminish—he gave up. He didn’t know how to age or what to do. He wasn’t prepared mentally, emotionally or spiritually for retirement. He was financially prepared.

    Throughout my journey in the last 2 years, I’ve thought a lot about coaching people to help them get ready for retirement—in their hearts and minds, not just financially. After reading a plethora of retirement books I was blessed to find yours. My inner being is saying “yes” this is the missing piece. I want to become an elder and help others along their journey. I recently was invited to a group that is discussing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We want to make it about more than a check the box training activity. Ageism is real in the workplace—that is a role I will play within this group. I’m not sure how, yet. I know there is something here.

    Ron, we need MORE conversation about eldering. I would love to be a conduit for this movement. I just met another coach yesterday who does faith-based coaching and we discussed doing this type of work in parishes. I would also like to create a “wellness” program for companies who are dealing with a shortage of workers. The only way they will meet their workforce demands in the next few years will be to overcome ageism and retain their older workers. The time is NOW for this conversation. Your 52 week workbook could be a basis for this type of work.

    My mind is going in so many directions and I have energy flowing about your work. I would love to connect and continue the conversation. Blessings to you for your work and the inspiration you have given to me.

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