The reality of getting older hits us all, whether it is when we finally accept that the children have left home, when a partner leaves or passes on, when we are made redundant, or when we reach a milestone birthday, be it 40, 50, 60 or 70.
In our modern world, ageing has become something to fear rather than an inevitable and natural part of life.
The wisdom of age and experience is unseen and often greatly undervalued.
Once upon a time in our history our elders were the custodians of the wisdom of our tribes and were honored and revered.
Faced with getting older it is possible for us to feel disconnected, hopeless and somewhat confused about who we are now.
There are many negative and dis-empowering stereotypes in our society relating to our seniors and about ageing.
The world’s ageing population is growing larger that is a fact. Medical science has advanced so quickly and people are living longer and longer.
Our middle and later years can be a time of new beginnings, coupled with the increased maturity to enable us to make the most out of life.
It can help to begin by asking ourselves questions such as ‘What now?’ ‘What next?’ or ‘What else do I want to do with my life?’
If your life has been focused on raising your family, perhaps it’s time to focus on yourself. Perhaps there are goals you still long to fulfill, or desires that it’s time to realize and make possible.
If finding answers to such questions is hard, it may be useful to imagine how you would like your life to look, ideally, in five years, ten years, or fifteen years’ time.
Where do you see yourself living?
How will you be spending your day?
What will be the focus of your life?
What will make you happy?
In many ways life is a series of roles – student, spouse, parent, grandparent and so on.
Middle-age and old-age are also roles, though ones for which we may not be prepared for and which there is little guidance insociety today.
Counselling gives you the chance to explore what this new role looks like for you and find your own way to approach ageing.
There are many other factors connected with getting older which you can explore in counselling, admitting and releasing difficult feelings, coming to terms with now, acknowledging, celebrating your past achievements and contributions, exploring the opportunities which lie within new roles and finding a path forward into the future.
The ageing process: through expressing and exploring our feelings about the ageing process, you can learn to soften and open up into an acceptance of physical, mental and emotional change and ageing, rather than hardening and resisting it.
This may involve looking at illness, pain or physical limitations and at what health, vitality and well-being mean now, in the context of middle-age or old-age.