Careerwell Listeners Share "Inner Expert" Views on Aging
Thursday, December 8, 2011, 10 am Pacific, 11 am Mountain, Noon Central, 1 pm EST, 2 pm Atlantic, 7 pm Zurich, 8 pm Istanbul
Listeners, If you email to me your photo (jpg format), contact information and a 50-word bio (approximately) before the interview today or by tomorrow, and you contribute your responses to one or more of the interview questions at bottom of this page, I shall post your photo, bio and contact info on this page (if you would like). I really want to hear your views on aging.
Play video below to see 91+ Anna Halprin perform The Courtesan and the Crone at the Poetics of Aging Conference. Thanks to Marilyn Harryman for capturing this amazing performance on video.
Before we begin, here are a few instructions for listeners:
- If you have a question, press 5* on your phone.
- Directly after the interview, be sure to fill out the evaluation linked to your call-in instructions, especially if you want to earn CEUs.
- Please register at least 24 - 48 hours before the interview so we have time to send out the call-in information.
- If you'd like to listen to more of these tele-interviews, and your organization is not currently a subscriber, contact me with someone I can talk with about subscribing your organization so you can listen for free (except for the cost of your distance provider). Email info@ careerwell.org or call 415.312.4294.
This is Dr. Sally Gelardin with Careerwell Tele-Interviews. Last week we talked with Nader Shabahangi about continuing the learning experiences at the Poetics of Aging Conference by interviewing several generations of workers over the age of 50. The rationale for conducting this interview series is that in less than a century, life expectancy has increased by an average of 30 years in developed regions of the world. Stanford University's Annual Report, which was just published on the Internet yesterday, stated:
There are now are more people living longer in the world than ever before in human history and they are accounting for an increasingly greater percentage of the world population. Improved longevity is, at once, among the most remarkable achievements in all of human history and one of our greatest challenges.(http://longevity.stanford.edu/annual-reports-2/).
Today I invite Listeners to address both the attributes and challenges that older generations have in common and their differences. If you respond to one of the questions below and send to me your photo, contact info, and a 50-word bio, I shall post it on this Careerwell Web Page.
To start us off, view the video of Anna Halprin on the Home Page, http://careerwell.org. Anna is a legendary modern dancer who has performed in Carnegie Hall and has choreographed performances with people who are experiencing life-threatening situations (such as cancer and AIDs). She's over 90. As soon as she finished the performance at the Poetics conference, she had to rush back to her studio because she was scheduled to teach a class that evening.
Questions 1: Do you identify with anything in her performance? If so, what? How did you feel after viewing this performance?
View the gallery of photos below the description of the December 22 interviews. Click on the second to last photo. That's Norm Amundson, presenting on the theme of using metaphors. He was talking about how metaphors can be used as conceptual containers for both understanding and enhancing experience. We explored ways in which metaphors can be identified, expanded upon, enriched and even changed as part of a positive life/work evolving process. A card sort activity was introduced for metaphor breakout exercise. This talk was based on Dr. Amundson’s books – “Metaphor Making: Your Career, Your Life, Your Way” and “Physics of Living”. I'll choose a metaphor card: Backswing Metaphors. The backswing precedes a forward motion.
Question 2: What are you aiming for? What other people or events might play a part in the rotation of your backswing? How can you strengthen your backswing?
Under the title of this mini series, Working Quinquagenarians, Sexagenarians, Septuagenarians, Octogenarians, and Nonagenarians, are the following words, Benjamin Franklin once said, “All would live long, but none would be old.” That is the theme of this interview and was the theme of the conference.
Question 3: What do you think the above statement means?
Let's go to the Poetics of Aging Website, www.poeticsofaging.org. You can read the paragraph to the left of the NEWS BULLETIN that expresses the full theme of the conference: AgeSong Institute, in collaboration with leading Bay Area universities and organizations, organized a four-day get-together for people interested in exploring the beauty and depth of life at any stage and age. The conference mission is to counter the mainstream understanding of aging as decline and/or disease with a more expansive, humanistic, and creative vision and approach. Under those words are statements by some of our key speakers, plus others, on their views of aging.
Question 4: What is your view of aging in a sentence or two?
Back at the Poetics of Aging Website, under NEWS BULLETIN, click on the article by Laura Paull, Huffington Post, For Baby Boomers, Aging Is The Next Frontier. As Laura noted, at the conference Richard Bolles said, "The traditional view of aging thinks of it in terms of work: measured by whether work is present or absent. I prefer instead to think of aging in terms of music: life has four ages, stages, or movements, just as a symphony does. Aging as music, aging as poetics, is long overdue for discussion." Laura noted, "And yet, work was a key concern of some conference participants who had come either to elicit ideas as they faced transitions in their jobs and careers, or as vocational counselors. The shrinking U.S. economy had left many of them unemployed much earlier than they had anticipated, and most of them still wanted -- and needed -- to work."
Question 5: How can we make the end of our "book" (Norm Amundson's metaphor) meaningful? What skills do we have to help our clients through difficult times, such as being out of work?
Let's try Norm's exercise, that we can also use with our clients, "Recall a time when you were most happy in your work, whether paid or unpaid; and pick apart the memory." “By having them tell that story, he said, you can touch what is at the root of their vibrancy -- what makes them buzz. The truth is in the details.” Listening to hopeful stories “isn’t going to to solve America’s problems,” he admitted. “But it is a tool we can use to remind people who they are. By telling a story of a strength being illustrated, you can get to the root of that person’s strengths, and remind them what they can do. I’ve worked with the unemployed for so long, I know it doesn’t take long once you’re out of work to forget what your abilities are, or how recently you were capable of functioning in a job setting.“
Question 6. What time were you most happy in your work? What was happening around you? What were you doing?
I was incredibly happy at the end of the conference, Friday night. If you return to the Poetics of Aging website, www.poeticsofaging.org, view the Gallery again. You can see us dancing in the third to the last photo. How strange, we are wearing aprons, more accurately - pinafores. (I contributed to the design of the pinafores, which we are wearing to equalize the playing field between aging adults with disabilities that cause them to spill their food and who wear bibs, and care partners (family members and staff). I go around to the assisted living residences and do workshops in which everyone, at every level of ability, designs his or her own apron.) That's me in the last photo. As tired as I was, dancing to jazz music energized me and others. As John Gray, another of our keynote speakers said, moderate physical exercise, by burning stored body fat, raises endorphins and causes our mood to change and we feel more pleasure. He said that eating some fat can also change our mood and we can feel more pleasure. Emotional exercises also release endorphins.
Question 7: What do you do to produce endorphins?
If you do too much (eating or exercise), you produce too many endorphins and go into overdrive and become exhausted and often ill. To learn more about healthy aging, many of us turn to Marion Rosen, the oldest speaker (97) at the conference. She is a world-famous bodyworker. Conference attendees wanted to learn how she is managing to live so long and be so happy. She's still working. View video at bottom of the Careerwell home page or on the Poetics of Aging website, poeticsofaging.org. Marion and Magana Baptiste, also over 90 and still working, are being interviewed by Nader Shabahangi, the founder of the poetics of aging movement and conference sponsor (I interviewed him last week). View the video. Both of Magana's adult children are leading breath-based yoga teachers (Baron Baptiste, based in Boston, and Sherri Baptiste, based in the SF Bay area).
Question 8: What is the secret to living a long and satisfying life?
I very much look forward to your lively participation in this first-ever Careerwell group interview!
Upcoming December Interviews
- 12/22/11 Bill Ryan, Working Septuagenarian with a Big Heart
- 12/22/11 Martha Boesing, Working Septuagenarian, Formerly Homeless
- 12/29 Faith Winthrop, Working Octogenarian "Havin' Myself a Time"
- 12/29/11 Helen Harkness, Focus on Functional Age for Your Future Direction. Target Chronological Calendars and Clocks!