Aging and a Shrinking World

Stan Goldberg, PhD

Yesterday I had an email from an aging college friend I hadn’t seen for almost 40 years. Just his name was enough to bring back memories of when responsibilities were limited to preparing for exams, paying my rent, and making sure the drugs I took were no more than hallucinogenic.

When Life Was Expanding

It was a time when the future was infinite, aging, and end-of-life thoughts were something for my parent’s generation. I, just as everyone else in my college circle, thought we would live forever.

Within the past two years, six friends—my contemporaries—have died, and death is now something not confined to “older” people, but a reality for my generation; aging baby boomers.

Although I’ve written about end-of-life issues for the past twelve years, I have a gut-wrenching feeling when death is an event that gets closer to home. Wise philosophers have written about the differences between theory and practice; between thinking you know something and experiencing it.

As we age, our knowledge becomes more refined, more personal. What we envisioned is now what we experience, and often the two are dissimilar.

When Life Is Shrinking

Aging in some ways is similar to two megaphones with their large ends pasted together. In youth, the future seemed as if it was endlessly expanding. Then at a time—different for everyone—the contractions started. Our fear of death was characterized by buying sexy cars, divorces, tummy tucks, risky relationships, and a general denial that we are getting closer to the short end of the megaphone.

In many ways, these issues are the foundation of much that I write about, whether it’s adapting to cancer, understanding what’s involved in caregiving, or learning how to help someone die more peacefully. If you haven’t started thinking about these three problems, you may want to take some time to begin before it’s too late.

Preventing Senior Moments, by Stan Goldberg

Offers practical and achievable prevention strategies for senior moments.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts