As I noted when I started this blog, sometimes I will post poetry. That time has arrived, and a brief explanation may be useful. When I was slogging through the early challenges of understanding the transition into aging and elderhood, I was surprised to learn how little was really understood or explored about the topics. It seemed to me a powerful and important developmental leap, yet resources to guide the process left me cold. So I made up my own models and resources. I described part of that process in a prior blog on my 79th birthday.
Another decision I made was to create a practice designed to invest in wisdom work. My first practice focused on millennials. I was distressed by the amount of negative criticism directed at the members of this generation by their elders. So I decided that every time I met a millennial, I would engage them in conversation, ask about their lives, plans, hopes…and while listening, indicate that they were talking to at least one “old” person who was supportive and encouraging.
This happened most often during trips I was taking with my consulting and training company. The middle seat would be empty when I boarded. United Airlines, then committed to never letting a plane take off with an empty seat, depended on waiting lists. Millennials excelled in using this option, hence I often found a millennial in the middle seat, boarding at the last minute, looking a bit stressed, yet relieved to be aboard.
The conversations were easy to start, and were amazing, experiences I will not quickly forget. They were often moving, almost always intense, and I realized I was usually talking to someone not accustomed to someone listening. Pondering all this, I wrote about it.
“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.“