“Successful” Aging: What it is, and how coaching supports it

I recently met with a professional man who had just learned he was soon to be terminated in an amalgamation—much to his surprise, and long before he was ready to retire. With a couple of years to retirement he had been doing some forward thinking, but not quite planning. Sound, or feel, familiar?

He was assessing the benefit of committing to a coaching relationship with me because he realized he had lost control of his own life agenda. His 30-year professional practice was ending, and he wanted help to figure out what to do now. In part because he acknowledged thinking differently and more in depth about some important life issues. The more we talked the more he realized, and was taken aback by, the extent to which his successful professional career had left him ill-suited for what he needed now. Particularly as it applied to his growing spiritual questions and concerns about aging generally, and retirement specifically.

As we talked, I assured him his situation is quite common; because few people are really prepared for the new life phase that follows career-end.  Especially when it is pushed on them unexpectedly. We talked about some practical things he could do to reorient his next phase of life, sometimes called the third third of life.  One that is may be longer than one’s “working” career.

I assured him again he was not alone; that many people find themselves more unprepared for later-life’s lack of structure than they thought, and believed. And that we could work together to get him back on track to restructure and feel good about his life again. When I asked where he saw that track heading, he was vague; saying he hadn’t given it that much thought. When I asked him what he thought “successful aging” might mean to him now he gave the same answer–which I assured him was also common. To help him formulate some helpful thoughts, I invited him to attend three upcoming workshops where a group of people in similar situations would be seeking functional answers to these same questions.

So, what would constitute more successful aging for you now? …Today? …This week, month, or year?

Like this man, you too may be like many others who are stuck in an in-between place where you are disconnected from what used to be OK. Maybe you feel discontented with life as it is, but don’t have any idea about how to get back in the groove of happy living of everyday life. Sometimes people can identify some significant change that has led them to this confusing place, as the man above has. But often they are simply aware that their get up and go for life has got up and gone, leaving them confused about where to find it again.

Successful aging is defined as “better than usualaging. It is comprised of multiple interrelated elements whose mix is different for everyone. Which is why there is no one-size-fits-all template. Moreover, there is no once-and-for-all-time accomplishment or end point that guarantees its continuation. That is good news: Because each of our lives is unique, what constitutes successful aging is also unique. More to the point, virtually anyone motivated to do so can elevate “usual” aging to “better than usual.” The tortoise had it right, because successful aging is an ongoing process, not a decision or endpoint. One that evolves as we grow and mature ultimately, at its furthest reaches, it becomes a way of life. One that often includes a covenanted relationship with a trusted, experienced companion to support, encourage, nurture, and guide us. Since that is my understanding of what a coach or a spiritual companion does, that’s what we offer.

We offer some of our coaching in small group workshops. Two of which* will be offered on March 23, 2019 at Ignatius Retreat Centre. One is free, the other has a small $30 cost—to cover the cost of lunch, materials, and the venue. Visit newfutures.ca for details, but briefly:

From 9:30 to 11:30 we offer, at no charge, an Introduction to Conscious Aging as a Spiritual Practice (CASP). This will focus on CASP principles, and how to get started using them on your own path to increasing contentment now, as you move into your next phase of life. This is FREE of charge, as stated.

From 1:00 to 4:30 we address two major obstacles that commonly undermine anyone’s CASP program and process. First, we will discuss the importance of understanding and managing The Stories We Tell Ourselves, and how they typically limit our best interests for better, more successful aging. Secondly, we consider three unconscious Stumbling Stones we all carry with us from our history; particularly our life-launch in our family of origin. As stated, there is a $30 fee for the afternoon session.

Registration begins at 9:00 with coffee and snacks. Participants can register for one or both offerings. For those registering for both, a light lunch will be available. There will be a book display and sale of useful books and materials. Registration, workshop details, and much more information is found  at newfutures.ca, where there is an email link for questions; also 519-820-2508.

* A third workshop will be offered May 11, 2019 entitled 8 Keys to Fulfillment in Live’s 2nd Half. It will be a full day event where we flesh out CASP principles as they relate to Successful Aging. Cost will be $125 per person, or $200 per couple. (With a pay what you can option on request.)

More details are, and will be, available at newfutures.ca.

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