Developing Your Elderescence.
Defining life stages is a modern phenomenon. “Adolescence” was introduced to the world in 1904 by psychologist G. Stanley Hall. His published works helped society realize that our teens are in a transitional life stage between childhood and adulthood. Before that, you hit puberty, and you were suddenly an adult.
Similarly, MEA’s friend Dr. Ken Dychtwald introduced the word “middlescence” to the world 35 years ago as a transitional life stage between adulthood and elderhood when we’re going through the adult corollary of the hormonal and identity transitions of our teens. And our MEA mastery faculty member Barbara Waxman popularized this concept with her 2016 book, “The Middlescence Manifesto” (her upcoming “Consciously Curated Life” workshop is April 17-22).
Hall also popularized the word “senescence” as “the condition or process of deterioration with age.” However, this word—which fixates on how our cells and bodies diminish with time— completely misses what’s proven to get better with age: our wisdom, emotional moderation, spiritual curiosity, and desire to serve.
And this brings us to elderescence. I love this word. Of course, truth be told, if you go to your dictionary and type in “elderescence,” you will come up empty-handed—Word Unknown. Just the same, I still love it and use it often. More than that, I think the word should be added to all of our dictionaries. After all, one of the beauties and power of aging is how we become more connected to our essence as we enter our elder years. We should embrace this stage of life for the gift that it is.
What do you think? Are you with me?