This beautiful post on elders was created by my dear friend and co-creator, Lynnda Pollio, author of the multi-award winning book, Trusting the Currents. One of my very favorite visionary fiction books written to help us navigate these times.
Lynnda is the world’s first Chief Consciousness Officer. She worked for a global futurist marketing consultancy, engaging with the CEOs and CMOs of Fortune 100 companies. Here is a daily trek that I hope will spark you as much as it did me.
Becoming the Elder by Lynnda Pollio
I celebrated a birthday this summer and realized something that’s been teasing for a while, yet I hadn’t fully owned: I am an Elder.
I am ready, I guess. Being an elder isn’t all that I am, of course, any more than being white or a woman or born in the U.S. defines the whole of me. (We need to stop treating each other like we all consist of just one syllable, but that’s a story for another day.) Finally, I am ready to release my strangle-hold on youth and become what I have been lucky to become. “Old” is my new playground, one that has its freedoms, limitations and laws.
For many reasons, this birthday I felt a clemency from the past like no other. I’ve pushed off the familiar shore of who I used to be into foreign waters with no destination and little expectation. I know for sure these waters hide death.
When I turned 60, I wrote of the extraordinary experience of entering the “youth of my old age” in my blog, The Strangest Adventure Yet. I still inhabited my youth, communed with her often, maybe leaned on her too much. Now that I am fully buckled into elderhood, I know I will become something beyond who I’ve been, adding fuel to the last of my adventurous and wondrous life.
Being Curious Brings Freedom
Being curious is more important than ever, as is learning as much as I can about myself and who we are on this planet. Always alert, I am more fearless and less careless. I now possess decades of skills and knowledge, all manner of consequential experience, both cultivated and mysterious.
And gratefully, I enjoy the health, wisdom and sanity (mostly) that comes with aging consciously. I hope my wild life can inspire others to explore their remarkable inner universe and trust who they are becoming.
No one leads a perfect life, even though we try to hide from its worst. Truth finds us in our most secret places. I have long been an advocate for exploring consciousness as both a pathway to a happier way of being and understanding the enigma of our existence. I can tell you from my astounding journey into these realms, it has made all the difference in who I am now. Consciousness is the next frontier for humanity. I encourage its scrutiny.
Being A Graceful Elder
In our age-obsessed culture, I no longer carry that beautiful veneer everyone sought to behold. Now, I am considered attractive for my age but it’s not the same as youthful beauty.
For any woman who has been gifted that powerful asset in her life, saying goodbye to being the sexy girl is monumental, terrifying and oh so freeing.
Just look at all the aging influencers doing anything they can for the appearance of youth. Men reading this won’t really understand, but other women waning in their years might feel a familiar twinge, as will many younger women who are already coaxing their own youth to behave.
Women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem once said, “One day an army of gray-haired women may quietly take over the Earth!” I’m not so gray yet and I don’t want to take over the earth, but be of quiet service to it; support the incoming generations who are inheriting what my generation, and other generations before created. The good and the bad.
The young humans birthing into these chaotic times need grounding and care, guidance not to fall into the entrenched ego traps, manipulations and cultural conditionings we did. I expect that when most Millennials are grandparents, we will not recognize what has become of the earth.
The Freedom of Being an Elder
Life is messy. By the time you walk through this portal, you have seen hell. Mistakes have been made, loved ones lost, dreams abandoned, struggles and challenges met and surmounted or not. Our children have children and suddenly time is running out.
Our monetized culture looks at aging and death as the last grab for profit and an ultimate failure of life. If that were true, no one who has ever been born leaves this world a success. And what revelations are lost to us buried in that sad belief system?
It takes a while to accept this inevitable transcendence, and understand all it has meant, but then, suddenly, it’s ok and you feel liberated like never before. Anyone who has experienced plant medicine will understand the feeling of letting go of fear so that what is waiting beyond the fear can emerge.
Living A Conscious Life
I have many younger friends and associates. And I see their conflicts and ambitions are different from mine because they are still plotting the odyssey through life. These differences are what make our relationships so meaningful and constructive.
Many of their worst failures and challenges are still ahead, and yes, no one gets through life without either, so give yourself and others a break. We are globally at a precipice and we all get to decide whether we want to cling to a broken past of separation and stagnation or look into each other’s confused eyes, smile, and move into unknown possibilities together.
I am more engaged in life and creation now than any time before, finally living where my soul calls. Most of my hardest responsibilities are behind, not that struggles don’t still surround me.
For the first time, I am completely immersed in doing what I love with people around the world that I trust and care about. As an Elder to many of them, I know that I am a part of building something magnificent that I will not spend as much time in as they will.
But then, who knows what unexpected discovery lurks in the future. My youthful optimism has not left me. I am ready for anything.