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changing the face of aging
Susan Brooks
Changing the Face of Aging

Changing the Face of Aging
January 2022

As the longest living generation in history, Boomers and soon-to-be Boomers, are the first to experience a longer and more robust life-span with an abundance of imaginable opportunities to be active, using our wisdom to serve others.

Dr. Sharon Inouye, a professor at Harvard Medical School says that "Ageism is the biggest threat to improving the quality of life for seniors today. How can we make the last act of life productive, meaningful, and fulfilling?"

Jane Fonda(pictured) has her own way of reframing aging:

"We're still living with the old paradigm of age as an arch. That's the old metaphor:

You're born, you peak at midlife & decline into decrepitude. ...

A more appropriate metaphor for aging is a staircase.

The upward ascension of the human spirit, bringing us into wisdom, wholeness & authenticity."

~ Jane Fonda, TedxWomen talk, "Life's Third Act," 2011

I'm with Jane!

What a mind-shift to change this paradigm from a world that is immersed in youth, new, bright and shiny objects, leaving a huge part of our population feeling invisible, irrelevant, undervalued and barely present humans. Imagine instead the joy-filled, sparkle-plenty real life trail blazers that are living examples of what aging can look like and feel like: Jane Fonda is 84, Paul Simon is 80, Helen Mirren 76, Tony Bennett 95, Frances McDormand 64, Willie Nelson 88, Anthony Hopkins 84, Nancy Pelosi 81, Jane Goodall 87, Twyla Tharp 80.

According to Chip Conley, one of today's leading thought leaders: "Experience is making a comeback. Wisdom never grows old." Chip created the hallmarks of the Modern Elder: "Learning to marry wisdom and experience with curiosity, cultivating a beginners mind so that learning never ends, and exemplifying a willingness to evolve both as a student and sage."

The Modern Elder Academy was born in 2018, the first mid-life wisdom school and growing ever since. It is dedicated to offering people a place and the curriculum to navigate mid-life transitions and emerge refreshed, inspired, and better equipped to flourish in the next chapter." Research shows that shifting our mindset about Aging can add 7.4 happy years to a person's life.

Proud to say that I am on my way as an MEA Graduate! I am on my way!

Look around your own life. I know you will see real-life Modern Elders in your life right now, those Elders that are still living large and serving others with gusto!

"At some point in your life you will become concerned about aging and want to know what to expect, what to avoid and ways to adapt. How we think about aging impacts how we actually age. It is still unclear whether aging is a process or an outcome!" - Alan Castel, contributing writer to Next Avenue publication.

What a provocative thought: Is Aging a genetic process, a natural evolution that lets our mind and body live until it dies???

Or... is Aging an outcome of all the good choices and decisions we make in every moment we breathe? We know that to exercise consistently and eat more healthful foods would fuel a healthy life expectancy. But changing a mindset takes a conscious effort. Imagine the impact if we actively altered negative attitudes and visuals in our mind about aging? I bet more of us will celebrate our 100th Birthday!

It's never too late... don't wait!! There's still time, at least another 20 years worth!

Featured Modern Elder*

Tina Liston Age 71

Tina lives in a cabin in the woods in a very small town in Teton Valley Idaho. She moved from Phoenix after she sold her retail business 2 years ago. I started reading her FB posts and was intrigued.

Modern Elders are interesting people, have you noticed?

Tina shares her story: After 30 years in business, I knew I was ready for adventure. Yes it's eaiser to stay put, but I was looking for a new experience in life that felt authentic for me. After visiting a close friend in Idaho, I got a very different perspective of what life could look like. Waking up to aspens, pines, and quiet every morning appealed to me. What have I got to lose? It's really ok if this doesn't work! I gave myself permission.

I've learned a lot about myself on this journey. I'm calmer, less stressed, more patient. I love the simplicity of daily living. I welcome the freedom of making my own choices nearly every day, defining what I want my life to be. And, I listen attentively to that little voice inside. It has taken years to respect the wisdom of that little voice, which we usually call intuition. It will guide you to where you truly need to be.

As far as an example for others, I don't view myself as a role model. I have always in my heart and soul been a lone cowgirl. My nature is such that I always live with a sense of internal privacy. My life is my life, and I no longer judge myself on that. I have spent decades attending to the needs of others. I view this as "my time." I look forward to tomorrow, no matter what. I feel prepared that it will take me where I need to go in my heart.

*Chip Conley, best-selling author and speaker, hospitality entrepreneur and leading thought leader, created The Modern Elder Academy's mission "to inspire the ability to reframe a lifetime of experience and recognize one's mastery, relevance, and value in the modern workplace." The Modern Elder* is Conley's term and effort that "liberates and inspires us to embrace wisdom as a path of growing whole, not old…The Modern Elder marries wisdom and curiosity."

Every month this newsletter will Feature the stories and wisdom of Modern Elders.

Share your Modern Elders with us…maybe it's you!! Please send in your Modern Elder Story along with a one-line Wisdom statement plus photo to be featured. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT.

Susan Brooks

Today, I am 75 years old, and proud of it! As Paul Simon said in his younger years: I was born at the right time! I'm still a hippie from the 60's, I marched for civil rights for all humans, equal rights for women, waving my bra with the best. I am proud to be living and growing in a robust marriage of 55 years. I survived motherhood, and so did my now-adult children. I was an award-winning woman business owner when there were but a few of us. I've learned a whole bunch of lessons, and more importantly, I've earned my fair share of Wisdom, too.

I am a graduate of the Modern Elder Academy as well as an active participant in Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit programs. As one of the creators and hosts of the Thrive@55 event, we celebrated our female community leaders who were 55+.

As long as I'm able to have the blessings of good health and a curious mind, there's more living to do, so much more to learn, so many new ways to serve. Trailblazer that I am, and always will be, I recognize my next mission: by example and demonstration I am committed to Changing the Face of Aging: One Modern Elder* at a time!

I welcome both local and national speaking engagements as well as one-on-one coaching opportunities to delve more deeply into navigating life transitions. Email me Here.

Juicy ways and energizing action steps: how to soak in the wisdom and energy of becoming your own Modern Elder*
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