“There is something very valuable about getting older.” ~Thomas Moore
|Author Thomas Moore with Oprah.|
Thomas notes that fear is a natural part of life, but that people shouldn’t get overwhelmed by this and should, rather, acknowledge such fears, as fear and ageing are part of the human experience. He notes that, as people get older, the struggles that they worked with when they were younger get become more settled, and that people can then address the issues that concern their soul, as getting older becomes a better place to be. Thomas acknowledges the physical aspects of getting older and notes that the key is to not view oneself as a merely physical being, which is a materialistic outlook. Making the shift in looking at ourselves as having a spiritual aspect, according to him, helps one to realize that ageing isn’t so bad. Doing this enables one to slow down, become more contemplative and spend time to do nothing as well as to walk and get close to nature, which enables one to get in touch with one’s spirituality.
Thomas notes that “growing older” is different from “ageing and maturing,” giving examples of people who have died young but who have the kind of profound insight and knowledge that is more applicable to one who has lived and entire life and had matured. He notes that people who have grown older but who haven’t matured haven’t had the kind of life experiences necessary to do so and defines ageing as one taking life on, with all its invitations. Such involves change and taking risks, which is something not everyone does.
Thomas went over some of the stages of ageing, which are:
- The first taste of ageing, which is a realization that one is ageing when one notices a somewhat insignificant event, such as one’s first gray hair or wrinkle;
- A “heroic mode,” which is the period of life when one “rolls along,” building oneself and one’s family and career;
- The “empty nest” syndrome, which is when one realizes that one has to change the way one lives;
- Movement towards thinking about retirement, when one realizes that both retirement and old age are approaching;
- Being actually old, where a significant shift is felt.
Thomas notes that adjusting to, and accepting, the process enables one to handle the transitions better and helps one live a full life in old age. He remarks that one needs to reflect to get in touch with one’s spiritual self to successfully live in one’s old age and gave such examples as reflecting and connecting with the spirit through art or poetry, without which ageing becomes a sudden shock.
Thomas remarks that the anger that comes out in old age, which could cause one to be considered cantankerous and chronically angry, come from past unsettled issues, which could come from when they were still children, and that this anger is triggered by the realization that the world is changing at a time when they had learned to become effective in the world. The anger also causes other people to become lonely and disconnected with others and the world at large.
When interacting with others, Thomas remarks that how he comes across to others is more important than what he actually says to others, which makes others remark to Thomas that he seems younger than he actually is. That said, Thomas acknowledges that there are things he can no longer do physically, as well as that there are other things he can do, in ways where he shows that it is possible to grow older without surrendering to age.
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