dancing in the still point on the spiral journey of life

Old age is not a disease.

It’s all relative.


According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the average life span in ancient Rome and medieval Europe was between 20 and 30 years. Our life expectancy in 1900 was around 65. It has increased now 25 years in the last century. So, God willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we can make it to 90 and beyond.


The medical community treats these bonus years as an illness. The prognosis is grim and full of admonitions about weight gain, insomnia, senility or dementia, osteoporosis, and heart disease, not to mention the need for hearing aids, dentures or joint replacements. It’s all about the pathology of aging.


Gerontophobia is the fear of growing old, or a hatred or fear of the elderly. We fear what we don’t understand.


Admittedly, I feared aging when I was much younger. I didn’t know what to expect. It’s no wonder, given the emphasis on youth in our culture, that I anticipated the worst. My aging happened a little bit at a time until one day I looked down at my body, into the mirror and wondered what happened.


In spite of the fact that there are millions of baby boomers, companies can’t figure out how to market to us. A headline last fall on Bloomberg read, “Aging Boomers Befuddle Marketers Aching for $15 Trillion Prize.” They are looking for the unmet and often unarticulated needs of older consumers, who for decades have been largely ignored by brand managers, marketers and product designers. The problem with most “silver” products  is that they highlight and reinforce the debilitating effects of aging. The pathology of aging appears to be a common thread.


At last we are starting to notice that there are benefits to aging. Who knew?


Older people are more relaxed and generally happier. We get better at the business of living through experience in the school of hard knocks. We become wiser, more insightful and appreciative of the good things in life. Studies show that long term memory stays intact. The brain is far more elastic than previously believed so it’s possible to learn new skills.


As we age, we will continue to behave as we have behaved as adults. If we take the time to assess our behaviors, we can change that which is no longer useful or functional. Age is merely chronology, the arrangement of events or dates in the order of their occurrence. We are never static.


Women, in particular, thrive in community with each other. In the Skin Deepest group, we are discovering that we want not only to consciously age but to share our experiences, hopes and dreams with each other. The aging process can be both positive and challenging but we will be able to improve our coping skills with mutual support.


We’re not denying aging. We want to understand the process. We want to stay present through all the changes. Mindfulness leads to acceptance of the changes we experience.


We can learn self-compassion through dialogue with others. It’s easier to acknowledge someone else’s suffering before our own. If we respond with kindness and understanding to another, then perhaps we can treat ourselves more kindly, too.




We’re sitting around a virtual campfire, sharing our stories with each other, with a joyful realization that we have so much to share. There is great mystery in this sacred transition. We’re brave enough to learn to embrace it and celebrate the gifts we bring to light.


To learn more about the Skin Deepest group and how to join, click here.


  1. cyndee starr on December 8, 2014 at 11:05 am

    it’s not getting older that bothers me, it’s the sudden change in how i’m treated since i retired that makes me feel old. the insurance company, the doctor, the mail i get, the ads, even my kids. it makes me angry. let me age without all the dome and gloom. it makes me feel like i’m being wrapped in a cocoon to protect me from hurting myself or from death to soon. let me live these years unencumbered.

    the doctors want to keep you alive forever, no matter what you have to give up or sacrifice. at this point what difference does it make if i have dessert first, or take the dog out for a walk on my roller skates. it’s the value of life not the length.

    i could go on, it’s a subject that has been burning inside me since watching my mother, my brother and my sister age and go thru the medical system and care facilities. then die as a result of Alzheimer.

    • Loran Hills on December 8, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Cyndee, I haven’t noticed a big change in how I’m treated – yet. I understand being frustrated, though. You have every right to choose what you want to do and when, so eat dessert first! I prefer it for breakfast myself.

      It sounds like watching what can happen in a facility is what is motivating you to live life doing what you value most. Why not? None of us know for sure how long we actually have left. One day at a time is all we have.

  2. Gaelyn on December 8, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Thank you Loran. Very well said. No matter my age I want the same respect.
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    • Loran Hills on December 8, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      Of course you do, Gaelyn. We all do! And we deserve it.

  3. Paula on December 9, 2014 at 4:58 am

    ” It’s all about the pathology of aging” really resonated with me… understanding things is the key. in order to understand, I feel the need to commune with and communicate with and connect with people… older people to learn, the same age to connect, and younger to teach!

    Gerontophobia is the fear of growing old, or a hatred or fear of the elderly. We fear what we don’t understand. let’s get busy and understand and teach!

    thank you for the well written thoughts.

    • Loran Hills on December 9, 2014 at 10:13 am

      You’re welcome, Paula. Thanks for reading carefully and commenting. I’m teaching what I need to learn and having a wonderful time connecting with like-minded women like you!

  4. Anyes - Far Away in the sunshine on December 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    I’m still not quite there, yet I can see how my “aging” is something that changes how the world relates to me.
    I am a fervent admirer of Louise Hay and at the end of You can Heal Your Life she spoke of “Elders of Excellence”. I have always loved that term and at the risk of going against the grain I am excited to try my best to become one.

    Beautifully written Loran
    Anyes – Far Away in the sunshine recently posted..Lost againMy Profile

    • Loran Hills on December 12, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Thank you, Anyes.

      Your aging might not have caught up with you yet, but as long as you stay alive, eventually it will. Then, if you’ve done the work in advance, you’ll definitely be an Elder of Excellence. I like that term, too.

  5. Sandra Pawula on December 12, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Loran ~ I so connect with this thought: “There is great mystery in this sacred transition.” That’s where I want to be though I know it’s a journey. Great article. The facts are interesting.
    Sandra Pawula recently posted..Create Your Shining Year 2015My Profile

    • Loran Hills on December 12, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Sandra, it’s quite an interesting journey. I think there’s something sacred in every day if we pay attention – and I know you do.

  6. Vicky White on December 12, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Thank you Loren. I really don’t get why it’s such a big challenge to cater to boomers – I don’t buy a lot of stuff but when I want to buy clothes etc – I’m prepared to spend money, but where are the sexy comfortable clothes I’m looking for? Perhaps it’s the disconnect these people have between who they think we are, and who we really are. Shame – for us, and for them!
    Vicky White recently posted..freedom loving bus driving ninjaMy Profile

    • Loran Hills on December 12, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      I’m not really sure where the disconnect is, either, Vicky. There needs to be more good information and communication.

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