The Potential Intergenerational Gift of MEA.
The Potential Inter-Generational Gift of MEA If you’re at the older end of your “second adulthood,” don’t rule out the experience of MEA. It may seem far-fetched to think about MEA as an intergenerational experience. That wasn’t my intent, but it ended up being an important part of the experience for me. In reflection, intergenerational connections have been an important part of my entire life.
As Albert Einstein said, “If you only talk to people like you, you’ll never learn anything new.”
Intrigued by MEA, I wanted to experience it for myself. I attended an early February week with an amazing group of people. We ranged in age from 30 – 78 years of life experiences. The week turned out to be a much-needed time for me to grieve two recent losses, as well as time for introspection and reflection.
We connected in such deep ways, in part influenced by our two terrific facilitators, Jeff and Vanessa. The “structure” of MEA, the learning “prompts,” and by being together and sharing from deep internal places in such a beautiful and nurturing place added to the experience. We had taken time from our usual lives for a “time out,” a week to learn and nurture our own souls, and for some people, a time to think about “what’s next?” in the world of work.
Part of the conversations, in the “formal” programs and informal conversations, was acknowledging some of the similarities and differences that came from our life experiences and transitions, and how these experiences inform and influence our life choices. We focused on our interests, what’s the meaning of life, how do we handle stress, how do we find and trust our own core or “essence,” and how do we build resilience.
During the week in our bread making and our poetry & lyrics, the intergenerational part was so lovely! I reflected on what makes a friendship—the importance of deep sharing and listening, mutual admiration, respect, and reciprocity. It doesn’t have to do with age.
Admittedly, I’m happy that I don’t feel some of the angst of being younger. Some of my angst in being older is dealing with aspects of latter stage life challenges. I’ve been open for many years to my spiritual, inner life. I’m acutely aware of less time ahead than behind and of how I’m living my life and how I hope to be remembered.
Some people said they saw me as a role model for themselves and perhaps for their parents. I welcomed learning how others were dealing with their own life stage and the myriad of possibilities and choices available to them. Many of us also shared about having similarly-aged children. We bonded as “Elders of Essence” and have continued the bonding with monthly Zoom chats, and the anticipation of some in-person connections at future times.
If you’re older, as I am, don’t rule out involvement with MEA. We’re living longer and there is more time to learn, grow and evolve, and to shift from a “fixed mindset” to a “growth mindset.” My hope is that intergenerational connections may become an intentional part of the MEA experience. You’ll find you have much to share from your life experiences, wisdom, and perspective and much to learn from those younger, who are becoming “modern elders.” And hopefully, outside of MEA, whatever your age, you will cultivate intergenerational connections. These friendships add such richness to life!
Dorian (aka Dori) Mintzer, Owner of www.revolutionizeretirement.com, is a retirement/relationship and executive coach, therapist, speaker, writer and host of a monthly interview program for professionals and the public. Learn about her, her programs, and her books, and watch her TedX talk, “Embrace your Bonus Years as a Time to Learn, Grow and Evolve” on her website: www.revolutionizeretirement.com. (firstname.lastname@example.org)