The Third Age (Peter Laslett), older adulthood, stage 7 (Erikson), senescence (ouch! from the coiner of the less-unfelicitous “adolescence”), younger old age: the age whatever you call it when we make the major life-cycle transition from the middle years of mature adulthood into the final years of our lives in old age.
Ripening – is what it can mean.
Old age can fall like a blow. It can arrive suddenly. What was once strong is now weak. What was once reliable, taken for granted, is now fallible, uncertain.
Old age can arrive like a gift. It can be the gentle turning of leaves, the first red patch on a maple in late August along a summer river. It can be the ungentle remark of a child, my hair is brown, your hair is gray.
Old age can arrive like a thank-you note. You have done a lot for me. I hear your story and I welcome it as wisdom.
Before that – before that – we are not ready yet. We don’t want to go on this trip. Or we’re glad to.
We will explore here that great journey, together, that each of us may anticipate as the coming into fullness of our years.