Introduction to The Elder’s Journey
Retirement and Old age are depicted in the media and in conversation as the end of one’s useful life. It is a time for sitting back and watching the world go by. But does that have to be true? The Elder’s Journey says that you now have the time and experience to make a difference in the world – not just in what you do, but more importantly, in who you are being.
This Road-Map lays out the structure and content of the Elder’s Journey. Every society has stories of a Hero and his/her Heroic Quest, be it Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series, or Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series. And in every story there comes a moment when the Hero's Quest is on the point of failure. At that moment an Elder appears - an Obie wan Kenobie or a Dumbledore. The Elder provides a gift, a talisman or a word of wisdom - the Hero is saved and the Quest can continue. In modern life, the need for Elder Wisdom is just as necessary – it’s just that a concept called Retirement took the Elders out of the picture –and it’s time they were brought back in.
The Elder's Journey
Disclaimer : Many of us say we will never retire. If we are talking about sitting back and doing nothing for the next 30 years - then the statement is true. If we intend to stay active, engaged and useful, then "retirement" gives us the opportunity to do something different and to continue to make a difference in the world.
- 3.1 Making a Difference in Retirement
- 3.2 My Physical Health
- 3.3 My Mental Health
- 3.4 My Sexual Health
- 3.5 My Financial Health
- 3.6 My Social Health
- 3.7 My Intellectual Health
- 4.1 Death and Bereavement
- 4.2 My Living Will
- 4.3 Preparing my Funeral
- 4.4 Doing the Paperwork
- 4.5 Getting complete
- 4.6 Preparing to Die
A Checklist for successful Eldering
Answer YES or NO to these questions
- Do I have a vision (or a dream) for my retirement and old age?
- Have I defined my purpose in life during retirement and into old age?
- Do I do some physical activity 5 – 6 days a week?
- Do I eat a balanced low cholesterol diet?
- Do I watch the additives in my food?
- Do I drink lots of water and fruit juices?
- Do I have an annual medical check-up?
- Do I get 7 or more hours of sleep a night?
- For men, is my waist less than 102 cms. For women, less than 88 cms?
- Am I socially active – do I see friends at least once a week?
- Have my spouse and I spoken about being in each other's space 24/7?
- Do I read, paint, draw, make music or learn something new daily?
- Do I have a "bucket list" of at least 5 items?
- Do I intend to live in the same area after "retirement"?
- Do I have plans to travel, study, work or volunteer during "retirement"?
- Do I have a passion I want to follow to bring new meaning into my life?
- Do I have a philanthropic plan for my "retirement"?
- Do I have a plan for staying economically active in my "retirement"?
- Have I sorted out my wills, insurances and estate?
- Do I have a “Living Will”?
If you answered NO to any of the questions, your plans for a fulfilling Eldering retirement are incomplete. We hope this Journey helps you answer YES to all these questions.
How The Elders Journey works
There are 26 Modules - every Module has 3 parts
Some notes, information or instructions These provide you with some background to that particular subject and may refer you to some articles or videos that provide more information.
Some worksheets or questionnaires. The sheets are “read only” which means that you can’t complete them directly. (Well – you can – but you will lose whatever you have written when you close your computer.) Instead ...
You can Save them to your computer. You can then work directly on the sheets as and when it’s convenient for you.
You can Print them and build up a “hard-copy” file that you can work on as and when it’s convenient for you. This option allows you “hand-write” your responses to the questions – so you don’t have to be stuck to a computer.
You can Use a Journal so all your thinking is collected in one place. (See the note on keeping a Journal below).
A Discussion Assignment. This is a question (or series of questions) that captures the essence of that Module and is an opportunity for you to set an intention for something you want to do. When you complete the assignment it will be forwarded anonymously to a Closed Discussion Forum. The Forum is a place where you can share your thinking, experience and concerns and you can learn from the experience of others.
The Discussion Forum is facilitated by an experienced Elder Coach who will help you refine your thinking and perhaps challenge your intentions.
And in time you will "build a relationship" with other people going through the Journey. You can be of huge service to them by checking in to see if they've done what they said they wanted to do. We all know how easy it is to set an intention and then not see it through.
You can also help by sharing your own experience and by asking for advice.
Ultimately the Discussion Forum will become the most important aspect of the Journey - it will become the difference between thinking about things and actually getting things done. But like anything else - you will only get out what you are prepared to put in.
A note on using a Journal
We recommend that you use a Journal. As you go through any transition, it is really important to keep a record of your thinking. Print the sheets and then sit with your Journal and write whatever comes up as you read the questions. There are no right or wrong answers – just insights that work for you. This is a period of deep contemplation. You are considering what you and your life will be like for the next 20 to 30 years. Capturing your thoughts in one place is an important aspect of that contemplation.
A word of caution: a Journal is a powerful tool and you will find yourself entering territory you have been avoiding – when that happens, use the Discussion Forum for advice and an exchange of experiences.
“I respect other’s point of view and agree not to share confidential information about any person, or discussion in the Forum, with any person outside the Forum, without the permission of the Forum”.
By continuing past this point, you agree to the above Confidentiality Agreement.
Preparing for retirement and old age needs to be a joint exercise. Ideally you and your Spouse would take the Journey together. The opportunity to talk together about the impact of your retirement and old age is vitally important. If for no other reason than you and your Spouse could be spending many hours a day together – and that’s an invitation to murder if there ever was one!
The intention of this Elder’s Journey is two fold:
- That you use the exercises to implement your thinking – rather than just doing the thinking.
- That you use the opportunity to be honest with yourself – there are lots of questions and you could skirt over them (with “please the teacher” type of answers) or you could dig deep, take a long hard look at your life, forgive yourself for everything you didn’t do, then move on into this next phase.
The next module : Open Discussion Forum
The purpose of this Open Discussion Forum is to start a conversation. There is a lot to consider as we grow older - and just knowing that others are wrestling with similar issues is encouraging. Their ideas may help you with your ideas.Next Module