The gifts of getting old

February 15, 2024

My wife told me recently that she almost spit out her tea laughing at something she read…“My favorite childhood memory is my back not hurting.” It’s funny/not funny, isn’t it? I could add to that sarcastic piece of humor my knees, my shoulder, and countless other body parts. Getting old stinks. And it is inevitable.

Side note: ageism is very much in our corporate consciousness, as the two likely candidates for president this year are the oldest in American history.

But getting old should not be without its compensations. I can think of two potential benefits of aging…honor and destiny. Sadly, too many of our older friends and loved ones are experiencing neither. The first…honor…is out of their hands. The second…destiny…is very much in their capacity to discover. Here are my thoughts on both of those gifts of getting old.


I’ve travelled a good bit of the world and have perceived that in every culture BUT Western culture, seniors are treated with respect and honor. Here in the States, with our success driven hyper-individualistic ethos, once your days of contribution draw down, you drift toward insignificance. To be relevant is to matter. We seniors can bemoan our fate, but we can’t hold it off for long, and we’re certainly not going to be able to wave our hands and demand respect.

What we need is the adoption of a more Eastern mindset toward aging, as is highlighted frequently in the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament of the Bible:

“Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly.” Leviticus 19:32

“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor.” 1 Timothy 5:17

“Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.” Job 12:12

“The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” Proverbs 20:29

“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” Proverbs 16:31

You get the point. This is out of the hands of seniors. If honor is going to be bestowed by the young, it will have to be intentional, thoughtful and premeditated. Respect goes a long way toward mitigating the unfortunate decline of our bodies!


Now, this one is VERY much in the power of seniors to fulfill themselves.

Recently I was chatting with a client about her retired father. As she reflected on the joy of discovering her calling, she sighed and recalled how her own dad let himself go when he left the workforce and never found a purpose to live for. I shared with her my sadness of watching my father go through the same thing. My dad retired early and never really found a why to live for. Both of us agreed that our fathers’ lives ended prematurely as a result.

Hear me, fellow senior… you are EXACTLY at the point of your greatest contribution in the last third of your life! Your life story and acquired skills have equipped you for maximum contribution. Your passions…the things that break your heart…the things you stand for…have been hard fought for.

NOW is the time to pay attention to what got you here. You are wise. You are experienced. You are practiced. You have the scars of a life of learning through trial. Leverage it all and watch a destiny emerge that changes the world.

I can help you with this. Reach out. Let’s talk. We’ll compare aches and pains, then roll up our sleeves and discover your why to live for in your golden years!














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