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Twenty First Century Ageing

One hundred years ago life expectancy in the United Kingdom was 53 years for women and 50 years for men. Improvements in sanitation, diet, housing, medical care and education have led to an increased life expectancy in the United Kingdom of 83 years for women and 79 years for men (ONS figures for 2017). These figures are averaged across the country, class and income and there are wide differences between the poorest and the richest members of the population but overall there has been a massive extension to our lives compared to 1920.

Many people in the developed world are experiencing relatively healthy and mobile lives well past the conventional age of Western retirement from employment. We, personally and as a society, would do well to re-frame our view of the ageing process and also re-evaluate attitudes to older citizens who often have a lot of experience, time and energy to offer our communities.

the Joy of Ageing Footpath picture

 To grow old is a privilege, elderhood has the  potential to be a source of great joy and an  opportunity for us to grow as human beings. Many  people in this country and abroad do not have that  opportunity. Wars, poverty, disease and lifestyle can  all lead to shortened existences. Those of us growing  old are deeply privileged and perhaps we have a  sacred duty to share the joy to be found aswe age.  Can we possibly approach the journey to the end of  life with joyful acceptance as opposed to resignation  and without resentment or bitterness? Can we leave  this beautiful world not with a whimper or a bang but  with equanimity? Can we also be an example to  each other and to those following us?

 The industrial revolution and the resulting social  dominance of the profit motive and consumerism has  led to the denigration of older folk for no longer being  units of production. This has led to ingrained prejudice which resides in all levels of our society to the extent that even we who are no longer so young have negative views about growing old. We need to find new ways to empower older people and not treat them as if they were of no use to society, merely a costly burden. So, there's a lot of work to be done and plenty of us to do it!

There is a growing movement, both in Europe and the USA, that is exploring ways to reintroduce the role of the elder who for countless generations was an essential part of how we humans organised ourselves, bringing experience and wisdom to the business of living together in a manner that respected and honoured our planet. We need those roles more than ever today.

My aim here is to explore how our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, habits and behaviour can all be turned towards living in a way that brings joy and enthusiasm to our lives and the lives of those we come into contact with.

Like our own selves, this site is an evolving process and will grow as ideas develop. For useful links and details of workshops, retreats and trainings please check out the resources page.

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The Joy of Ageing Picture of Charlie Ivermee

 After many years of exploration through counselling  and psychotherapy, both as client and practitioner, I  came to mindfulness in 2016 and have had a regular  meditation practice since. Before retiring from paid  employment at the age of 71 I had a long career in  the electronics industry. Since leaving employment I  have volunteered in various sectors and recently as  a residential volunteer coordinator at the Barn  Retreat Centre situated on the Sharpham estate in  Devon where I co-facilitated week long retreats  based on meditation, community and the land. I then  spent nearly a year as a residential volunteer at the  Schumacher College at Dartington in South Devon.  In 2022 I spent a second year at the Barn Retreat Centre and currently grow food on my allotment whilst also volunteering at the Barn and Schumacher College.

I have come to see how important being in community is to our wellbeing at all ages and particularly in later life. Currently I am an intern on the Certified Sage-ing Leader program from Sage-ing International. I am excited by how curiosity, reflection and a mindful approach to our ageing can lead to a wisdom that enhances daily life and can help us work with difficulties and increase our joy at being alive. I have a deep interest in the process of ageing and in how we can make that a joyful and rewarding journey.

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The Web Site

I did some work on my daughter's website The Voice Box and was impressed by it's uncluttered style and the use of lots of white space. So I decided to create something similar for the Joy of Ageing.

I have been creating websites since 1998 and for over a decade created a site and on-line community that caused some mild sensation in it's day including originating the cooking an egg with two mobile phones myth which went viral and ended up in the New York Times and Daily Mail print editions (my fifteen minutes).

BlueFish HTML editor logo

 For this site I have relied on the excellent open  source Bluefish HTML editor which I have been  using for a number of years. This is an uncluttered  editor that does not get in the way or encourage the  use of flashy gizmos. There's a detailed review here

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