On the Shelf or Embracing Life?

Could it be that rather than putting ourselves on the shelf as we get to a certain age, we have the amazing opportunity to serve and express ourselves more freely, released from the false worries about fitting in and what people will think about us?

No need for the resignation of, “I’ve got nothing to lose,” – but the choice to be inspired by the same feeling – unashamed and without shyness we can go for it, sharing our experience, wisdom and observations without reservation.

There is enormous fun to be had with this as we first accept the liberation and then the simplicity of the responsibility on offer to support and mentor others, sharing what we have learnt along the way.

So what, as a society, can we say is going on when we so readily dismiss and sideline our elders? With our attention and attachment to youthfulness, are we resisting the natural cycles of life and the richness they hold, disregarding and undervaluing all that is on offer from our elders and their lived experience?

As two elders, we have certainly had a developing relationship with the concept of growing old. There are so many myths that abound around ageing:

  • That we will at some point ‘get it’ or ‘have all the answers’
  • That it is a decline from everything we had when we were younger, ‘over the hill’ as the saying goes
  • That it is the time for us to retire and be rewarded for our hard work, a ‘putting out to pasture’ mentality
  • That, maybe particularly for women, it is all over in terms of our physical attractiveness to others
  • That we should gracefully step aside to make way for the younger generation.

Talking to others and as we feel now there is no ‘getting it,’ – the gorgeous thing being that we actually start to feel younger, realising how much we still have to learn and losing the pressure of needing to look like we have all the answers. This leaves us much more open, curious and appreciative of the ongoing and endless discoveries life offers. There is an acceptance that introduces humility, a life-enriching quality that allows us to view the world and our place and purpose in it with a sense of the bigger picture and the joy of our equality.

It is now our experience that our ageing bodies are beautiful, sexy, sweet, and endlessly precious, emanating qualities that behold, nurture and support others. We can give ourselves permission to embrace the confidence and freedom to dress and present ourselves without being devotees to fashion magazines and the latest ‘looks.’ And that there is no retirement requirement; that a deepening engagement with life and the people in it means we realise how much we still have to offer and how much we want to continue to do so.

Whilst gripping youth so ardently (seen so clearly in the celebrity world), is humanity as a whole avoiding the responsibility and balance of embracing growing old and the steadiness and deep understanding of life that these years hold? And how in the reflection of the way we live, others get to transform and develop their relationship and understanding of ageing and growing older.

In our experience of being elders, at work, in our families and amongst our community, there is a grace in accepting growing older and a huge service in taking responsibility for the pivotal part we play in society. If we reflect on this being the autumn of our lives and what this symbolises, it can be a period of great inspiration as we take stock of what is truly important and offer this reflection to others.

No need to shrink into the shadows. We can simply embrace growing older, appreciating the passage of time, the learning on offer and the blessing of the responsibility we have to share and reflect.

By Judy Atack and Matilda Bathurst

Related Reading:
Sexiness in the Older Woman – Not Related to Age, Sex or Good Looks!
Active Ageing – your Health in your Hands
‘The Joy of Ageing, Esoterically’ 

772 thoughts on “On the Shelf or Embracing Life?

  1. Judy and Matilda, I love the title of this article, ‘On the Shelf or Embracing Life?’ What a clear choice we have between the two, I love how you are both embracing life, have purpose and are committed to serve and inspire others to show what is possible and that we definitely do not have to end up on the shelf – far from it.

    1. It interesting how we accept these terminologies to describe getting older… ‘on the shelf,’ ‘past it’ ‘over the hill’ and I see many of these descriptions on birthday cards. No celebration there, feels like we are putting ourselves ‘out to pasture’ at middle age; an age where we can offer so much back to society.

  2. ‘No need to shrink into the shadows. We can simply embrace growing older, appreciating the passage of time, the learning on offer and the blessing of the responsibility we have to share and reflect.’ When we embrace getting older, in stead of wishing we were still young, we experience the richness of this phase of life. Personally, at nearly sixty, the older I get the better I feel….so that says something! No thought of retiring, actually just started a new career path.

    1. Yes Mary-Louise, by simply embracing ageing turns the table on how we experience it, seeing how much we can offer if we live this with responsibility and the lightness that comes with it.

    2. I agree entirely Mary-Louise. It is simialr for me. Someone asked me my age today, and when I told them I was in my late fifties they could not believe it. I feel younger and look younger than ever and am also starting out on a new venture. We always have so much to offer, regardless of our age.

    3. Beautiful “We can simply embrace growing older, appreciating the passage of time, the learning on offer and the blessing of the responsibility we have to share and reflect.’ “

  3. He who puts himself on the shelf can easily be confirmed by others by putting him on the shelf to; he who embraces life and expresses himself cannot be put on a shelf even when others try to do so.

    1. Agreed Alex, we put ourselves there, we create the situation and then we don’t like what we have created and so complain about life – but it is our choices we are dissatisfied with.

  4. This can be the case in any stage of life, not just moving into old age. We can put ourselves on the shelf and choose to stay there, digging our heals in. Embracing life and all it brings is the antidote to this.

  5. There is definitely a wisdom that can come with lived experience, to have walked through the various ages and stages of life and to have learnt so much. It would truly benefit society to have value placed back on elders and their wisdom of experience, and for this wisdom to be shared between the generations.

    1. Which goes to show that age is not what really counts; it’s what the person has to offer and, if that comes with life experience, that’s a super bonus.

      1. I love that Judith, “it’s what the person has to offer and, if that comes with life experience, that’s a super bonus.” It is the whole package that needs to be honoured, never just singled out qualities, otherwise we miss out dearly on what every person brings.

  6. There is a lot of misery at the moment with growing old, the getting ill, the decline in quality of life at the later ages of life and so on. I feel we need to look at the whole life we are living and the quality of that life, because the life we live before will be the foundation for what comes next. If we are already ‘on the shelf’ so to speak but have to work we are still in the world but this will get very visible at the age of retirement as then there is nothing we ‘have to do’ anymore and the way we feel about ourselves and life get truly exposed. So it goes for every age to not hold back and be ourselves, not shelf ourselves.

    1. Well said, Lieke, and much wisdom in your, ‘So it goes for every age to not hold back and be ourselves, not shelf ourselves.’

    2. This is so well exposed Lieke. If we have been living our life as if we are already in the shelf, without valuing and expressing the fullness of who we are at heart, and the only saving grace has been work (which many of us engage in grudgingly) that has kept us committed to life in the world, when we no longer have that activity to cloud the truth, the emptiness that we have been choosing will be well and truly in our face.

  7. Elder wisdom comes with connection and nothing to do with how young or old we are!! So make life one of connection and “responsibility for the pivotal part we play in society,” which will always share the love.

  8. Age and ageing is something very much related to the stages that the physical body goes through from being born to passing over, yet the essence of a person remains the same throughout.

  9. As I approach my forties, what I am realising is that with each year that passes is another year of opportunities to let go of the patterns that do not belong so that I am able to live more as myself as opposed to living from my reactions to life and my hurts. And as this process unfolds, I feel and live life a whole lot better than when I was younger.

  10. Something recently inspired me to appreciate the sense of purpose in a great man from our recent history – this was a great reminder of the importance of embracing life in every moment, being prepared to make mistakes and forging forward for truth, not packing up in any way.

    1. It is as you say, Shirley-Ann about being willing to embrace life in every moment, prepared to make mistakes and forging forward for truth, and definitely not packing up in any way. That goes for anyone, of any age.

  11. As with everything, it is a choice to put ourselves on the waste tip, thinking we are past it, or sit back shrinking in the shadows. Or we can embrace life and remain active and engaged, mentally and physically continuing to contribute to society. I know which way I’m choosing, no shadows for me.

  12. We are all capable of bringing through deep wisdom because of the nature of our bodies being naturally built to express, and it is part of our evolution back to our truth. As most of us haven’t done that from young, as we get older we do move into stages of letting go of the reasons why we chose to hold back and come to a place where we feel the absolute responsibility of expressing the lived wisdom to help others and the joy that brings.

    1. Beautifully said, Julie. No one is left out from being able to access this wisdom, other than by their own choices as they live life, and that is what a lot of people don’t like facing when they realise this.

  13. “That we will at some point ‘get it’ or ‘have all the answers’” – the great thing I’ve been finding as I enter into my 40s is no longer having the know-it-all cross that I used to have in my 20s and 30s thinking that because I’m “well educated” I should know. The more I learn to self-love, the more at ease I am with not knowing, not understanding, and things like having to check the spelling of a word no longer phases me. The more at ease we are in our own skin the less having the answer(s) matters.. and what arises instead is inner wisdom. This is something I have found can occur as one matures through age years, though as we know wisdom itself is age-less.

    1. Yes the ease of being in one’s own skin is super to experience and not needing to have all the answers feels great, doesn’t it?

    2. Zofia, this reminds me of a teenager I know who is super confident in his own skin and always has been. He does not care if his spelling is not correct, he often just smiles if he gets it wrong because he knows there is much more to life. He is not phased by the aggressive teachers and doesn’t mind if he doesn’t know the answers to his homework because he lives a life knowing energy first and speaks older than his years…. ‘The more at ease we are in our own skin the less having the answer(s) matters.. and what arises instead is inner wisdom.’ To know ourselves and live that means we are equipped with everything we need in life. Life isn’t about ‘having the answers’ it is about continuously learning and being true to ourselves.

  14. Human life on earth is set up so that there is always some desired peak point or high, which automatically makes everything that is not that peak point look low e.g.. young is high, old age is low. This is a false consciousness and rhythm that tends to rule life here, because we have forgotten the ‘One Life’ – we are always Sons of God whether we are taking out the garbage or accepting accolades on stage, whether we are young or old. This permanent truth is the source to live from, not the mad roller coaster that is a set-up and always leaves one desiring to be other than one, in essence, is.

    1. You’ve made such a valid point about the highs and lows on offer in life, Lyndy, and how this can trick us into thinking there is always a better high to be striving for. No wonder so many people are exhausted nowadays and aren’t enthusiastic about growing older as it is simply living more of the same, but in an older body. It’s super to have found there is another way of looking at and living life that supports people to keep their vitality and enthusiasm for life.

      1. I so agree Judith – such a valid point about the level of exhaustion that this mode of living creates – the stimulation brought by the rollercoaster is an ersatz ‘life’ run from the nervous system that the human spirit loves, instead of continually nurturing and enriching the body from the impulse of God.

  15. “So what, as a society, can we say is going on when we so readily dismiss and sideline our elders?” Could it be that by avoiding the quality of the elder and instead only marvel youth to be it in life, we can continue to live irresponsible lives that otherwise would be revealed as a repetition of the same and as not working from the lived experience of the elder?

    1. That is such a valid point you made about the irresponsibility of it all, Nico. So much energy and time can be wasted repeating the same things that one’s elders have already learned from experience were such a waste of time and effort . . . and so the generations keep going on round and round in circles in more ways than one.

      1. Yes Judith, in putting away the elder as of less value we can avoid looking in honesty to life and admit that we are failing as a species.

  16. During childhood I gained the belief that growing old was an unwelcome, if not dreaded, inevitable event to come tinged with fear. However, as I grow older, now in my sixties, the experience is thankfully not fulfilling that expectation at all. In fact I am greatly enjoying, feeling more alive, committed and enjoying life more than perhaps I have ever done in my younger years.

    1. That’s great to hear, jstewart51. This ‘feeling more alive, committed and enjoying life more than perhaps I have ever done in my younger years’ is certainly breaking the mould of what society generally pictures growing older to feel like. We aren’t clapped out ‘has beens’ – just people who have learned lots more about life because we have lived in a way that keeps us more vital and committed to living life in full to the best of our ability. I really enjoy meeting people older than me who are doing just this, as it is so inspiring.

  17. If we truly look at the state of humanity, and recognise the part that we still play, we surely know that we absolutely have nothing to lose in bringing it all – and everything to lose if we don’t.

    1. The old ways of looking at life are certainly not supportive, Jenny, when we look back over the track record humanity has created for themselves.

    1. That is what I have seen and experienced too, James. The youngest person to the oldest we have in our lives have so much to offer when we are willing to stop and appreciate the opportunity in this.

      1. Stopping and appreciating what and who is before us is a great reminder to stop the rush and need to get somewhere rather enjoy fully being where I am and who I am with.

  18. What is the most fun and empowering at the same time is whenever the world pushes us to be ignored or dismissed, we would find again another way to find a steady strong hold to step on, we open up our environment and open our arms to welcome more people to join us by the Truth that is within everyone of us.

  19. Not only have we learned from our mistakes (hopefully) there are many things we no longer need in our lives that allow us more space. We have lived experiences that are hidden gold that is on offer for anyone that asks.

  20. “So what, as a society, can we say is going on when we so readily dismiss and sideline our elders? With our attention and attachment to youthfulness, are we resisting the natural cycles of life and the richness they hold, disregarding and undervaluing all that is on offer from our elders and their lived experience?” Yes, we are! This only allows us to live half a life, for we are cutting out a crucial wisdom, when we cut out our elders.

  21. “In our experience of being elders, at work, in our families and amongst our community, there is a grace in accepting growing older and a huge service in taking responsibility for the pivotal part we play in society.” This is empowering and enriching life for all.

  22. What a beautiful sharing on growing older and all that is on offer to us and the responsibility we hold with this that i am feeling also.” We can simply embrace growing older, appreciating the passage of time, the learning on offer and the blessing of the responsibility we have to share and reflect.”

    .

  23. To fully be able to embrace life we need to let go of all the pictures we have about what we think our life ‘should’ look like.

  24. So agree Judy and Matilda, ‘That, maybe particularly for women, it is all over in terms of our physical attractiveness to others’. This has been a total misapprehension of what is actually going on. Women do not get less physically attractive as they age if they stay connected to their inner heart. It is the hardness and exhaustion and bitterness that the disconnected life brings on that makes a woman unattractive at any age. All one needs is a divine connection to the truth of the self and you will be carrying around with you a pair of eyes that will melt and disarm no matter what your age.

    1. Gosh you’ve hit the nail on the head in your words, ‘It is the hardness and exhaustion and bitterness that the disconnected life brings on that makes a woman unattractive at any age,’ Lyndy; the same goes for men.

  25. “On the Shelf or Embracing Life?” – as i’ve been experiencing since hitting my 40s….the more we embrace the loveliness of ourselves the less we care or are bothered about “being on the shelf”.. knowing that the shelf does not exist and where instead there is but a platform that propels us towards greater depth and thus greater enjoyment in life, and of life.

  26. “That we will at some point ‘get it’ or ‘have all the answers’” this is a great one to reflect on, I always thought that this was down to time, what I get now is its about choices, connection and how we life. The difference is there is no time limiting our connection to the all – yet there is no time that we will be able to hold onto all that is known.

  27. The myths that you talk about here in relation to ageing, particularly for women are so dismissive of someone getting older, when in fact we all have such a wealth of experience and wisdom to share with our younger generations. And whats more, when we fully embrace ourselves, no matter what our age, the beauty and grace that shines out is equally inspiring for anyone who may be feeling that life is passing them by.

    1. Agreed Sandra, age as we see it, is irrelevant on many levels particularly when I see the beauty and grace within another – at that moment there is an equalness that outshines any beliefs on age and being old.

  28. Growing older with the wisdom of the The Way of The Livingness certainly breaks the mould frees us from the chains of retirement and winding down from life as it now sits in society!

  29. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us Matilda and Judy. Your words have me wondering… why wait another day before I stop worrying about what other people think? I also feel deep gratitude for the reflection of the elder men and women in my life. Lived experience Is a powerful teacher.

    1. Agreed Leonne, it is only through our experiences that we learn, even when those times feel uncomfortable during this process. The irresponsibility lies when we have those lived experiences and then accept and sell out to society’s belief that we are too old to contribute anymore, so we ourselves ‘put ourselves out to pasture.’

  30. Judy and Matilda, this is really beautiful; ‘the responsibility on offer to support and mentor others, sharing what we have learnt along the way.’ Reading this I can feel how valuable elders are in our society, there can be so much to learn from them and thinking that elders are past it and ‘on the shelf’ feels incredibly disrespectful. If we think like this then we all loose out on the wisdom and wealth of experiences that the elders in our community can offer.

  31. What a truly uplifting and inspiring blog to be read by all women of all ages – that gives women permission to grow old gracefully, to let go of youth and what no longer is important and embrace the next stage of learning and deepening, and valuing all our lived experience and sharing this, in such a way that lights up the path for all other women who will travel the same path of growing older.

  32. I can tell within my every day experience whether I am parking myself on the shelf or embracing life. The difference is profound. If I decide to coast for a day and sit back my whole body feels lethargic, my eyes lose their sparkle and I feel depressed. The days when I decide to embrace life I feel like a totally different person. I have vitality and joy, my eyes sparkle, and my interactions with people are totally gorgeous. We don’t need anyone else to park us on the shelf – we can do this to ourselves!

  33. There are so many out there now that are embracing their elder years and living in the joy of being themselves no matter their age which is very inspiring.

  34. Yes embracing life and seeing it as the beginning not the end. Appreciating the wisdom, the freedom to breath and reflect, to use those moments of repose and consideration to impulse the next movements. I love being older, I just wonder why I thought the age I am was ever ‘old’!!! because I feel younger and more alive both inside and out than I ever have before.

    1. Same here Lucy, I love being older too, and like you I feel so much more alive than ever before, as I have learned to accept myself and all my imperfections as well as accepting my grandness and my sacredness as a woman which is a continually unfolding as all my insecurities and fears just drop away.

  35. Society does seem to ‘shelve’ the elders, or see them as having a use-by-date that is out of date, rather than appreciating the qualities and the wisdom that they can bring and value their contributions deeply. It is like an unwritten rule that once you reach a certain age, especially as a woman, then your value has ceased. This is a very damaging approach in our society, for then it means we miss out on so much! And at the same time, we can see that many elderly play this game too and just succumb to giving their power away to this societal game of being shelved. And so it is time for us to contemplate deeply on this situation, and begin to appreciate what is on offer in terms of appreciating ourselves, and those around us and all the qualities that we bring regardless of age. And this will gradually begin to erode the erroneous beliefs that abound about shelving someone and unfold a more true way for us all to be with each other and our elderly!

  36. On further contemplation, parking ourselves on the shelf so to speak can begin at a very early age, and essentially is any time when we have stopped to value what we bring, have stopped to value the core of who we are and where we are truly from. And so it is a habit (the shelving) that we may perhaps lop with the elderly, but in fact it is something that begins at a far earlier age, and perhaps is only more obvious when society reflects this back to us in our older years! But how many times have I held back what was needed to be said, or not done what was truly needed, out of doubts, or hesitations or laziness or lethargy and complete lack of appreciation of what is on offer? How is this not shelving myself? And so we get to see that not only does society do this to people, but perhaps just perhaps it has something to do with our own choices too.

  37. I agree elders have a significant part to play in humanity and it is often not fully utilised, appreciated or celebrated, it is a something missing in our lives.

  38. It’s such a amazing blog to read where life gets better as one (or two 😉) gets older! Usually it deteriorates and depreciates in value as the years roll on.

  39. Recently I have been privileged to spend time with two young women. We have had the most amazing conversations where there has been trust and equality and openness. I really appreciate how when we are being ourselves, age is no barrier to connection and intimacy. Thank you Judy and Matilda for your reflections on ageing gracefully, you show that there is another way to embrace ageing.

    1. “I really appreciate how when we are being ourselves, age is no barrier to connection and intimacy.” I very much agree with you, we have made age a barrier but in truth it is not and there is no need for superiority nor inferiority that we have learned to apply when it comes to age.

  40. A beautiful blog and these words I particularly embrace today, “There is an acceptance that introduces humility, a life-enriching quality that allows us to view the world and our place and purpose in it with a sense of the bigger picture and the joy of our equality.”

  41. “are we resisting the natural cycles of life and the richness they hold, disregarding and undervaluing all that is on offer from our elders and their lived experience?” – It’s crazy that the older generation often feel the most isolated and supposedly ‘useless’ in terms of contributing to society, when that is the point in our lives when they may have the MOST insight and wisdom to give back!

  42. Every age, every aspect of life is so important, because a True reflection is all that is needed and even after our death if we have no fear but a True understanding of who we are, then even in the after life plan of existence people get to see a reflection from one who has evolved.

  43. On the shelf or embracing life? Great question to be asked at any age. Are we truly open and embracing all that life presents, and seeing the opportunities or packages that life presents for us to learn and grow and to continually refine and shed old patterns of behaviours that no longer serve us… Life is a great learning school as long as we do not sit on the shelf, holding ourselves back.

    1. I agree Jacqueline – on the shelf or not, this is something that is relevant for any age. I have personally been sitting on the shelf a lot in my life, by my own choice. I have finally learnt that the only way to truly live as opposed to merely exist, is to be deeply committed to life and willing to stay truly connected to people as well as myself.

  44. I put myself on the shelf when I retired at 50. It nearly killed me. Going from years of drive, drive and more drive to nothing and zero purpose, was literally killing me. Thanks to Universal Medicine I was woken up to what I was doing to myself in time to turn things around. Now I will never put myself on the shelf again.

  45. To step aside for the younger generation as we age is to give our power away to an ideal that says youth is more productive or worthwhile and completely overlooks the equality in our essence or inner hearts.

    1. Very true, it shows how much we have put life into categories and the constant competition to be better, all the while we are equal in our essence and thus equal in the wisdom that lives within us.

  46. Yes, we could say that in western society today we generally sideline anyone over 50, or maybe even 40, as we glorify beauty and having the perfect life over the innate qualities and relationships that develop over time and support us to evolve.

    1. Yes there’s so much more on offer than the glorifying of the current concept of surface beauty and the ideals and beliefs of what a ‘perfect life’ is widely perceived to be in large areas of the world.
      There is great joy to be had in embracing the ever-available opportunities to reconnect with one’s inner qualities of wisdom and true beauty as well as enjoying the increasing depth of relationship it is possible to share with other people.

  47. I don’t feel I will ever stop being active, sit back or be put out to pasture. I may well slow my pace as my body ages, but being involved with life to the end is a great example to give to younger people

    1. The gentle slowing of one’s pace as the body ages certainly isn’t a sign that older people have nothing to offer to the recipe that makes up life. I find it rather interesting that the media are keen to speak with people once they reach 100 in an attempt to discover what their secret is to living to such an age, yet these centenarians have been overlooked for many many years before they reach this age. The wisdom they have doesn’t suddenly appear when they are 100 years old; it’s been acquired as they’ve lived their lives – no different from you and me.

  48. ‘the gorgeous thing being that we actually start to feel younger, realising how much we still have to learn and losing the pressure of needing to look like we have all the answers.’ I agree, and it really is so enjoyable.

    1. Society, on the whole, continues to set up our younger people to think they need to have all the answers, yet the label ‘know-it-all’, used in a derogatory manner to put people down, shows even knowing heaps is not the answer to life. It is so freeing when we realise this is all a set-up to make us feel less than we truly are and stop placing this impossible expectation on ourselves.

  49. We are so fortunate to be able to grow old as many don’t get the opportunity. Every minute on the planet is rich with opportunity to truly make a difference and elders offer a huge support to those facing challenges in the earlier stages.

    1. “Every minute on the planet is rich with opportunity to truly make a difference”. So beautiful to hear. There cannot be a single boring moment in life then.

  50. “Talking to others and as we feel now there is no ‘getting it,’” I love this because it shows how we will always be ourselves, there will be no magical change we get older we will always be with ourselves. it is only and always only our choices in each moment that will make the difference in our life.

    1. I feel that curiosity and openness about life and living is what supports people to remain young in their approach to life – to stay open-minded and open-hearted to the opportunities that come towards them on a daily basis.

    2. I agree Esther – it never does cease when we make it about our inner most connection and not about the beliefs and perceptions society impose on us. When we come from our inner most essence we see the wonder of life, the wonder of God in fact, everywhere. How can you ever go ‘off the shelf’ when that is what is within you?

      1. Yes, this is beautifully described Katerina, when we live from what is within us, our essence, there is no change in how we feel but when we make it about our outer perception and physicality we think life starts and ends and that we have to be a certain way at the various stages.

  51. As a member of staff in my first job in a secondary school, I went to support some 6th formers on a German exchange trip to Munich. At one point during the trip on an outing, I found myself alone with the older member of staff I had gone out with (he was near retirement) and with the host German teacher who was also approaching retirement. It felt very joyful and confirming to be in their company and it was a moment in time that I will not forget. Many younger staff back at the school were not expecting me to get on so well with my colleague given there was an age gap of about 30 years and that we were so different, but nobody had reckoned on how much I valued his elder quality or appreciated his accrued wisdom and innate sensitivity.

  52. Do we embrace, walk and breathe Love? Or do we say we’ll build up to it later? Is it any surprise that we put ourselves on the shelf when we do the same thing with the magic of God? It’s never too late to accept our precious divinity, better this life than next I say. Thank you Matilda and Judy for this treasure.

  53. Rather than seeing life as a lineal line that slowly declines into shadows, with a brief and bright youth. What if we could turn this perception around, that every day of our life could be bright and beautiful and build into the next, growing and evolving as we grow older rather than diminishing.

    1. Yes, so much is lost for those that have the belief that a brief and bright youth is all that counts in life. Each and every day presents us with so many opportunities to learn more about ourselves and grow a deeper understanding of others.

      1. I agree, and often our perception of what constitutes a bright youth is one that is intense, self abusive, reckless and irresponsible, because you have to ‘live while your young’. I watch those around me run themselves into the ground in their youth through partying, alcohol, drugs, train wreck relationships, studying etc all to have ‘fun’ and experience life, but where does it leave them? Healthy, steady and vital and prepared for the rest of their life? What if we approached every day as an opportunity to build towards our future so that we only get stronger in ourselves as we get older, investing in our youth for the rest of our lives.

      2. You’ve raised a great point here, Rebecca. Our young ‘run themselves into the ground in their youth through partying, alcohol, drugs, train wreck relationships, studying etc all to have ‘fun’ and experience life’, yet many people continue to live many aspects of this even as they age.
        It’s put down as having fun and many are keen to hold onto this way of living and its perception of youthfulness as they enter their more mature years of age. What is overlooked however, is the huge toll this collectively takes on the body as it ages and the subsequent consequences to their health and vitality.

      3. “What if we approached every day as an opportunity to build towards our future so that we only get stronger in ourselves as we get older, investing in our youth for the rest of our lives.” Superbly said Rebecca, a way of life that truly supports us instead of trying to manage one day after the other.

  54. What stands out to me here is now we often think we get to a point in life and that is it, there is no more, our time is over. When really every day offers us more and every day sets us up for the next, in this life and in life to come, and that wisdom is to be shared.

  55. This blog makes way for self-empowerment and true connection to our purpose and so also our embracing of our lives and everything within it. It shows us that the many dynamics are for us to learn from and let go of things that have not served us and those things that we need further exploring and appreciating. Thank you for expressing this both with us.

  56. Your list of myths that are so often accepted as ‘how it is’ in relation to ageing are so far from the truth of how it can be for anyone as we get older. There was a time when I would have gone along with this too, but as I approach my sixties I am deeply appreciating myself how I feel, what I am offering to the wider community and beyond, as well as those close to me. Sometimes I feel as though I am just starting out, and definately not that I am reaching a point of no return!

    1. Super to read your experience of ageing, Sandra. I have found appreciation of oneself is key to having a fulfilling life, no matter what age we actually are.

  57. And it really is wonderful to be out in the community just being ourselves, and bringing a totally new way of ageing… When I’m teaching in primary schools kids always ask… “How old are you exactly?” 🙂 …to see someone of my generation having so much fun and bopping around opens up really new perspectives for them.

    1. That’s so gorgeous, what an inspiration for them – that the joy and exuberance we naturally have the we let ourselves be who we truly are, never leaves us. In fact it just deepens, deepens and deepens. Turns the notion of unrequited youth totally on its head. The joy we all yearn for has nothing to do with age or the confines of time.

    2. Yes, Chris, as you say, it really is wonderful ‘to be out in the community just being ourselves, and bringing a totally new way of ageing…’
      People are only as old as they choose to be. Being young at heart make such a difference to the way one ages. Children are super readers of this and are so aware of where people are coming from.

  58. The phrase ’embracing life’ is so full of purpose and joy, and so expansive… in complete contrast to staying isolated and contained on a shelf!

  59. We all have a responsibility to share our wisdom throughout our lives, and as the years pass we have more lived experience to reflect on and share with everyone… there is no end to the responsibility and no end to the wisdom on offer.

    1. Yes, Paula, no matter what age or stage of life we are at, ‘there is no end to the responsibility and no end to the wisdom on offer.’ Is it possible it’s this depth of responsibly that has people choosing (both consciously and unconsciously) to put themselves on the shelf?
      It’s such a life changer when you become aware of all this outplay going on in life.

  60. Our whole society has been so deeply programmed by the myth of ‘work hard all your life then get the reward of doing what YOU want to do – go caravanning around the country, travelling the world, gardening or reading all day’ but when this time actually comes it has a nightmarish, useless sort of feeling underneath it, as if there is no purpose to the day, no true rhythm – very subtle but there. Therefore there can be a deep sense of being on the shelf and of no more use. This happened for me when I retired years ago at 60, from teaching and researching at University and on top of that I moved up north where I virtually knew no one except two amazing practitioners. I felt utterly lost. I realised that I had to contribute to society in some way otherwise there was no point in living – and then I went back into the workforce. Certainly I feel I am expanding and expanding more joyfully into life than ever before. No shelf-sitting!

    1. Super inspiring to read your experience around retirement, Lyndy, and your subsequent decision to return to the workforce. As you share, huge amounts of programming goes on around expectations once people have given up working. It’s no wonder many feel let down when they realise the hollowness this way of living – ‘caravanning around the country, travelling the world, gardening or reading all day’ etc. actually holds.

      1. Totally Judith. I see so many examples of the hollowness of retirement around me everyday – the retired couple next door have the radio- chatter blaring all day to fill their emptiness (luckily once we enter our home this cannot be heard); others get totally obsessed with their grandchildren, making them the centre of the universe (not that I am discouraging grandparental input on Grandchildren) and another couple I know who are younger than me go overseas for 4 months of the year for a holiday to France..But all the while the emptiness and desolation at not contributing to society is gnawing away at the edges of this so called ‘good life’.

  61. I love this – for when I see a woman in her elder years live her life fully in the knowing of who she is and in the honouring of her elderly body, it is an inspiration for life itself. Which is why the ill-seeded notion we have bought hook, line and sinker that at a certain point in our lives we are ‘over the hill’ and ‘off the shelf’ is utterly evil. When a woman – or man for that matter – shrinks into the shadows in their elder years, they take us with them into the shadows as well.

  62. Just looking at one of your points Matilda and Judy: “That we will at some point ‘get it’ or ‘have all the answers’. Yes this need is an illusion, floating somewhere in the same realm as ‘hope’ floats (written so wonderfully upon by Fiona Lotherington). Having this thought is actually a giving away of our responsibility to access our divine intelligence right now and instead lay the onus on someone else.

  63. As I get to 60 I notice that some of my very old friends are slowly getting less vital and are looking forward to retirement and winding down. That makes perfect sense to me but I have never felt more vital in my life and I don’t have any attention of slowing down. I just love what I am doing and it feels great to simply continue and expand.

  64. I have to admit when I was younger I did view those over fifty as over the hill, but now I have reached that age depending on the way I am living I feel great and look forward to many years still learning, working and getting to know myself and others a lot better as it never stops.

    1. I love this, Kevin, and totally me too, remembering looking at the over fifties as ‘past it’ and now, in the over fifty bracket myself, loving feeling my love of life and the inspiration for what lies ahead.

  65. Judy and Matilda, Reading this I can feel how we are all missing out on the wisdom, lived experiences and grace of our elders – by having this idea in society that it’s better being young and that as we age, especially as women that we need to hold onto our youth for as long as possible, rather than accepting and embracing the natural change into becoming an elder; ‘is humanity as a whole avoiding the responsibility and balance of embracing growing old and the steadiness and deep understanding of life that these years hold’.

  66. We have sayings like ‘over the hill’ and ‘its all downhill from here’ when we turn 40 – which is only half way through our lives generally… how does that impact our perspective and purpose in life at that early age? We are already putting people out ‘on the shelf’ as these comments would be having a subtle effect.

    1. And these comments come from a society that focuses on youthfulness and superficial beauty… rather than the innate beauty within all of us, the quality of all our relationships and the wisdom we innately share no matter what our age.

  67. Until I met Serge Benhayon I expected my life to be in decline as I grew older. This is how most of the population lives, and so the check out and dementia occurs as a consequence of our withdrawal from life. But there is so much more to us than this. In the light of our Soul we are evolving beings, and when we take this up, and embrace our true nature in our daily living, age is not an issue.

  68. There comes the point where we will all become walking history! We possess something the internet can only regurgitate, a lived experience. We can listen to recorded music but; hearing, seeing and experiencing it live is something that you can feel. The only thing that stops our curiosity, that is an essential part of life, is ourselves!

  69. When people retire and put themselves out to pasture, the whole community loses out on the depth of understanding and wealth of experience gained over a lifetime of learning, that can be of such value and support to others. We do not need to have academic accolades to share our lived wisdom.

  70. “On the Shelf or Embracing Life?” – the more i age in years, the more i find myself embracing life because of one thing – love – the love i have re-found for myself (thanks to the Ageless Wisdom Teachings) for without this companion of true love i would most undoubtedly think and believe myself to be “on the shelf” as a single woman in her early 40s.

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