Third Chapter Consciousness: Key to successful aging?

Here I am again, rolling around my obsession with this particular age stage of life yet one more time. I’ve been through “third chapter living” (too vague), third chapter curriculum (too pedantic) and “third chapter mastery” (too demanding and daunting), “third chapter mystery” (too mysterious).  My mind wishes for something that also fits my gut sense, as I personally try to be conscious to what I think and what I feel as the 75 year old solo ager I am.

Today, I took a peaceful pause out among the flowers and did absolutely nothing but enjoy the beautiful weather. In that moment of emptiness, what should pop up but the phrase “third chapter consciousness”. Hmmm.

Something about that feels right. And as with all the others, I need to live with that phrase a bit. At the point of turning 60 (or thereabouts) and facing another 30 years, I do see people allowing themselves to be more conscious…more aware of the disorientation they feel, more concerned about not knowing what the future will hold, and, along with the certitude of life’s finitude, more interest in making their remaining years count.

Not that this doesn’t apply to those who are 40, or 50, or 70, too. We can all benefit from exercising a bit more consciousness about the fact that we will not live forever and what that means for how we want to live until then.

Welcoming a new level of consciousness as we enter our third chapter of life feels right. In fact I believe this age stage I am choosing to call my “third chapter” demands a heightened awareness in order to live fully for however many years I will be given.

At 60 and beyond we have no guarantees. Our choices will matter more. While we can still experiment and regroup and recover from whatever consequences our day-to-day choices bring, our remaining years offer less time for messing around.

Thus, taking the time for a pause for more deliberate reflection on our health, our gifts, interests, needs and wants, is a good thing. And, taking the time to grieve our losses and adjust to our changes is essential. Finally, listening for, and hearing, that whisper from within that says… “it’s time to live differently” truly demands some very special attention.

Maybe it’s right to hold to the notion of “third chapter consciousness” as our key to successful aging, and keep probing for what that means for us.

And, maybe we all need more “moments of emptiness” to allow for it.

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