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This term might best describe seniors (and reverse mortgage professionals) who are living large, radiating their passion in the world. In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu says, “A person with outward courage dares to die; a person with inner courage dares to live.”
Living passionately doesn’t necessarily look appreciably different from doing your job or living your life day to day; the distinction is apparent when we encounter such individuals, who seem to glow with purpose — and the way they speak reflects who they are on the inside.
How does one become a maven?
Ariel Lexina Adams, creator of Ageless Pizazz, says aging creatively “is an attitude” that involves changing our stories, so that what may at first appear negative can be turned around mentally, and potentially physically.
Grief therapist and death educator Michelle Peticolas, PhD, in conversation with Adams, says, “To see aging as an adventure, start by making a list of what you like to do, what you’re passionate about. Take a risk. Women, especially, are often used to deferring to others. We need to learn how to say what we want.” Adams emphasizes, “There isn’t any right choice; what matters is choosing.
“If you don’t really know what you enjoy, do the exercise with a companion who can reflect back to you, and let you know when something causes you to light up.” Years ago, when Peticolas was trying to decide between becoming a therapist or a filmmaker, a friend recommended the latter. Peticolas asked why, and her friend said, “Because when you talk about making a film, your face shines.” Though she ultimately decided to pursue psychotherapy, she did end up making a film as well.
Peticolas says, “When I’m coaching people in grief, I’m interested in the whole constellation of their world, because all of that is part of what’s important to them.”
Sometimes a synchronous event or a seemingly small detail can clarify one’s life direction. Adams shares how once, when she was away on vacation, the people who sublet her apartment left a book about Sufism, which catalyzed her spiritual journey. This tiny shift “was the beginning of finding out who I am,” says Adams.
The beauty of creative aging is that one can begin at any age or life stage; we are always “aging”, and death is “the ultimate reality transformation,” says Peticolas.
In the poem, Ceres Looks At the Morning, Eavan Boland paints a moving portrait of possibility for later life:
I wake slowly. Already
my body is a twilight: Solid. Gold.
At the edge of a larger darkness. But outside
a summer day is beginning. Apple trees
appear, one by one. Light is pouring
into the promise of fruit.
look at me as a daughter would
look: with that love and that curiosity:
as to what she came from.
And what she will become.