Would you like to invite your future older self for a visit? Here are some questions to contemplate:
When you attempt to visualize your older self, who and what do you see?
- How much older are you than you are now?
- How far into deep old age are you able to travel in your imagination?
- When you try to imagine your future older self, how do you feel? What sensations do experience in your body? (and where are the sensations located?)
- When you imagine your future older self, where are you? What are your surroundings? Where do you live?
- What are your hopes for your future older self (and what are your fears)?
- How will you live fully in your older body, in whatever state your older body happens to be?
- What are some ways in which you can experience enjoyment, freedom, and passion…in your aging body?
- Who are your co-creatures in later life? With whom do you spend time and enjoy life?
- What is the quality of mind — the form of consciousness — that you bring to your aging experience? To being an old person?
- What do you see as your purpose in your later years?
- What new things is your future older self learning and experiencing?
- What does your future older self consider to be a “good day”?
- What changes in your thinking and acting do you need to make in your current life in order to have the embodied old age you envisage?
- What does your future older self want to tell your present self?
- If you invited your future older self over for a cup of tea or a glass of wine, what would you like to ask him or her?
This is what my future older self tells me every time she comes for a visit: Embrace your aging journey, wherever it may take you!
About Jenny Sasser, Ph.D.
I am a freelance educational gerontologist, writer, community activist and facilitator.
I am former Chair of the Department of Human Sciences and Director of Gerontology at Marylhurst University. I joined the faculty as an adjunct member of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program in 1997 and since that time, I've been involved in designing many on-campus and web-based courses and programs for adult learners, including in Gerontology. As an undergraduate I attended Willamette University, graduating Cum Laude in Psychology and Music; my interdisciplinary graduate studies at University of Oregon and Oregon State University focused on the Human Sciences, with specialization areas in adult development and aging, women’s studies, and critical social theory and alternative research methodologies. My dissertation became part of a book published in 1996 and co-authored with Dr. Janet Lee--Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society. Over the past twenty (or more!) years I have been involved in inquiry in the areas of creativity in later life; older women's embodiment; sexuality and aging; critical Gerontological theory; transformational adult learning practices; and inter-generational friendships and cross-generational collaborative inquiry.
I am co-author, with Dr. Harry R. Moody of Aging: Concepts and Controversies (now in its 10th edition!) and first author, also with Moody, of the recently published Gerontology: The Basics, as well as author/co-author of several book chapters, articles and essays.
I am on the Portland Community College Gerontology Program faculty.
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