Could it be said that the secret to a productive life, at any age, is one devoted to being as authentic to who you honestly believe you are inside for the longest span of your days alive? Is the key to living a productive life discovered by finding the right balance between what’s acceptable to survive from the perspective of your soul and what you find minimally acceptable to survive from the perspective of guaranteeing you have adequate (and preferably exceedingly comfortable) food-clothing-and-shelter?
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.
In “The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain,” the late Gene D. Cohen, geriatric researcher on positive aging, wrote about a “summing- up” phase in life that typically hits people in their late sixties and into their seventies and eighties. Cohen identified this phase as “a time of recapitulation, resolution, and review.”
If you are up to it, answering these six questions will take you down a long and winding road.