If you are one of those folks over 60, you probably have noticed that you are entering a new age stage. You have entertained the reality that at some point you will die, pass on, and no longer grace the planet with your presence. And you may have started asking yourself some very important questions.
- What does my acceptance of my mortality mean for the way I now want to live the rest of my life?
- What is it that I need to talk about with myself, and share with parents, children, partners and allies in order to face the challenges upcoming?
- Will it have mattered that I was here?”
These THIRD CHAPTER QUESTIONS are potent, and the THIRD CHAPTER CONVERSATIONS, especially the ones we have with ourselves, are necessary. This next phase of adult development doesn’t really have an agreed upon “name”, but universally we feel “change” when arriving at 60 or 65. Some call it elder hood, others a second adulthood, others the bonus years. The label THIRD CHAPTER is one among many. It happens to appeal to me at this moment in time.
Arriving into our 60’s, most folks are reminded of the fact that we have likely lived longer than we will live in the future. We now need to give attention to life’s practical legalities: We know to get to our doctor and elder lawyer for Advance Directives in case of a serious accident or illness; we know to appoint a health proxy, a power of attorney, and to create a will. If these practical issues are not given attention, our default legacy could be pretty miserable and messy for those left behind.
And then there are agreements to be made in sooner than later family conversations:
- What about living arrangements as we age?
- How do we assess our likely emotional and physical needs? And plan to accommodate them?
- How can we better anticipate what will be required to care for an aging spouse or parent?
And let’s not forget some of the larger issues that ground quality of life.
- How can I live my “remaining days” in a way that fulfills who I really am?
- What constitutes a good death? And how can I have one?
- What will I leave behind? How will I be remembered?
All of the many questions associated with the journey towards the end of life take time and reflection and certainly more than one chat.
More and more you will find these kinds of explorations and support groups variously offered in our Pioneer Valley at churches, libraries, senior centers and the community colleges. Look around.