What's the harm with denying that we're aging? You'd be surprised.
Because you are reading this, you are on the forefront of a revolution. Traditional attitudes about death and dying are changing.
Look around and you’ll see the signs everywhere —in new movies (like The Bucket List which quotes our center’s research)—on TV shows—in books and in magazines. Americans--especially baby boomers--are taking a second look at ageism, at mortality, and it’s changing them and our culture forever--for the better.
The old attitudes? Americans have been obsessed with denying their aging—unlike people from many other cultures. For decades we’ve done whatever it takes to ignore, repress, deny and hide from our aging—forcing this inevitable reality from our consciousness.
Need proof? Want examples?
Sixty-four percent of those surveyed in the center’s ongoing study said they worry about aging at least weekly. When thoughts of aging arise, what do they do? Fifty-four percent do whatever it takes to block these thoughts—to repress them. (Read study highlights or explore the issue in the center’s new paperback from RDR Books titled, Coming to Terms with Aging.)
Avoidance is so powerful that while we plan for other life passages--for confirmations and bar mitzvahs, graduations, weddings, childbirth , retirement--when it comes to the end of life planning--we do practically nothing. Why do you think that, according to polling firm Ipsos-Reid Express, 59% of Americans have not even made a simple will? (continued right column)
Why do we darken our hair and spend for cosmetic surgery? Why do we send seniors to elder care institutions? Because historically, we have run from everything that reminds us that we age.
So what? Why face aging when it's unpleasant?
The things we fear change us. And when we fear obsessively, it affects our psyche. When fears permeate a culture, in the long term they powerfully alter our educational institutions, our politics, our healthcare, and collectively--our potential for happiness. (The full impact of the fear of aging is outlined at this site and in the center’s book, Coming to Terms with Aging.)
The important thing is that we are starting to deal with our all-enveloping fear of aging and mortality. Baby boomers will lead the way---driving a change in our cultural bias against growing old—our rampant ageism. The revolution will come with amazing benefits because when you as an individual, and we as a culture, face what is real, it transforms us. It changes how we value our time. It changes our capacity for introspection. It changes how we care for one another.
Learn how you can come to terms with this central life issue and how you can reduce your fear of aging and dying. Learn how fear drains your energy and diminishes your enjoyment. We know with absolute certainty, that as you begin to grapple with this issue, good changes will come. You will live less in memory (the past) and less focused in fantasy (the future) and more in the precious moment of the present.
Explore our site for fascinating information including:
The ten most common fears people have about aging.
The questions people frequently ask and our answers.
Take an interactive mini-class and a quick quiz on the key aging issues.
Learn what world authorities on death and dying have to say--including Pulitzer price winners and religious leaders.
Enjoy our data base of their quotes
Read our research.
Find helpful links to related sites.
Learn of workshops (and, if you are a related provider, list your own workshop free of charge.)
Discover exercises to help you come to terms with aging.
Help us do our research by completing a five minute survey.
Why it's important to explain
death and dying to our children.
Parents learn what to say and what not to...
Country and Western Song says it all...
Is it ethical to accept extensive, costly end of life care if the end is soon and certain?
Comments by the Ethicist from the New York Times
Full story here.
Get the book that started our Center
Coming to Terms with Aging
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The Life Awareness Center.
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