The Future of AGeing (After-work)
We commonly think of life after work as one of leisure, rest, and a time where we can do all the things that we have been holding back from doing while we work to live, and save for our golden age. We save our travel to exotic destinations, hold back from volunteering in our local community, and wait to read all of the books we've collected over the years.
But when our time comes to retire from the working world, for many it is a bitter disappointment. We are suddenly isolated from the social structures and rituals that have given our lives meaning through work, and we are left to find a place to belong... to be valued... to matter.
Walk down the streets or look around the places you live and you'll be pressed to see the people who have paved the way before us. The keepers of history, experience, knowledge and wisdom, are hidden from us. They are relegated to institutions that we dare not visit as they remind us of our mortality, and perhaps the uncomfortable reality that indeed we will one day age also.
Here is a radical notion: that re-engineering our society to return our elderly a rightful place of respect, counsel and reverence may actually help us navigate some of the most challenging struggles of modern life. It's not a new idea either. Look to any indigenous culture on earth, and many of our closest neighbours to the north. The wisdom of elders is central to the health of many a peoples. Perhaps we in the West could listen to this, and imagine a better way of engaging our elders, and in doing so, create a healthier, wealthier (in the most importance senses), and more balanced life of meaning and purpose for us all.
I'm currently work with a pretty amazing organisation BallyCara, where we are re-imagining healthy ageing. Check out the start of this and get involved with upcoming events in Brisbane and Gold Coast.