Follow these mandates or grow old ungracefully. Not following these mandates simply increases the odds of becoming a burden. You don’t want to be confined to a miserable existence. It’s obvious that a healthy path will make you more alert and active—as well as a much happier and vibrant person overall.
I have been following the psychology-based literature about transcendence in old age, with a close eye on the theory of gerotranscendence (GT), which has elements of self-transcendence and cosmic transcendence, as championed by Swedish Psychologist Lars Tornstam, who came up with the theory in the 1980s. I identify closely with Tornstam’s theory and have previously wrote about it. GT is a fascinating aging-related topic.
One can easily get lost in all the articles and books about aging. I’ve been trying, with little luck, to narrow my focus to mostly four topics listed in this blog’s title: “the philosophy, psychology, sociology and spirituality of aging.” It’s obviously a wide spectrum. So, to par things down a bit, I started looking specifically into one area, psychology. I chose psychology because in my mind it seems to be the easiest topic to understand in comparison to philosophy, sociology, and spirituality.
As I have noted in a good number of previous posts, early old age, which varies for some, ranging anywhere from 45 to 65, brings lots of consternation about who you really are and what you are doing with yourself in work and elsewhere. You come to an intersection where you think more deeply about where your compass is pointing, and it’s almost like going back in time to when you were first trying to figure out what you were going to do with your life.
As a home-office-based freelance writer, long periods of solitude spent in deep work comes with the territory. There are times when I will not have a conversation with anyone other than my wife for an entire week.
This is the first post of a new series I’m calling “Scholars on Aging” in which I synthesize some of what I personally consider, from self-studies, to be the most interesting articles and books written by academics and authors around the world who conduct research on aging.