Elderhood: What It Is About

Elderhood is about the gifts that age bestows; gifts unique to those who have lived long enough to have learned much of what life is all about, and remain curious about what’s yet to come.  Elders have seen the cycles of life, have witnessed the ebb and flow, and have gathered insight and learning from their experience as to what works and what doesn’t.

Elderhood is like the ability of the two-faced Roman god, Janus, who was, at the same time, able to see back into the past and forward into the future, yet remain grounded in the present.  It takes many years to amass the wisdom this feat requires.  Some never reach that place.

Elderhood is about:

        Attitude, not age
        Humor, feeling the joy of life
        Courage, to tell it like we see it
        Memories, and stories to pass on
        Mortality, facing the End Game
        The Giveaway
        Mentoring, passing on wisdom to younger souls
        Spirit, knowing the true sources of our being.


It’s more about what I’ve learned along the way, rather than how long I have lived.
It’s about being open.

It’s about knowing
   – knowing we are all one;
   – knowing we are inherently good;
   – knowing there is enough, if we can use what we have wisely;
   – knowing who my teachers have been, and are;
   – knowing that truth often comes from the mouths of the young.

It’s about perspective
   – the power of seeing several generations before and after us.
Seeing family patterns that sometimes comfort us and, at other times, trap us.
Coming to understand the heritage we inherited
   – and have already passed along to younger generations.

It’s about honoring the good and changing the bad, where we can.


Allowing the Coyote within to howl!

Using humor properly, never using it to harm.

Looking forward to each day, with joy and gusto,

Knowing that these are the best days of our lives!


It’s about speaking my truths, as I know them.
It’s about asking the hard questions.

It’s about pointing out the errors that have been made,

It’s about calling my family and/or society to a higher place; to right the injustices, wherever possible.

It’s about asking myself the questions:
   “How do I want to be known?” and
   “What do I have to do to be known that way?”

It’s about being accountable.

It’s about admitting when I have erred and seeking to make amends.

It’s about being able to forgive and let go of the past.

Having abandoned all hope of having a better past,
It’s about living in the now – the only time that exists.

It’s about choosing to take responsibility for myself, not playing the victim.


Remembering what life was like before most of modern technology was invented.

Relishing the memories of a simpler life in a simpler time.

Remembering the challenges of earlier times
– and honoring myself for how I met them.

Facing the pain of having outlived family and friends.

Accepting the loneliness that comes from the losses, and learning from it.

Remembering the joys of having had friends with special gifts.

Recalling with a mixture of joy, sadness and even a bit of anger, the stories of people who have come and gone, who have enriched my life in so many ways.


Having passed the mid years of my life, I no longer look back, But eagerly look forward to the harvest years.

Learning to face and embrace the remaining years with grace, patience, and gratitude – and with few regrets.

Knowing and remembering the cycles of life, the ebbs and flows of human experience,

Accepting with peace and grace that, in the end, all works out as it’s supposed to.


Making my goal that, before I die, I will have given away all that I am.

Knowing that the greatest give away of them all is love.

Knowing that the great paradox of love is that the more I give away, the more I receive.


Realizing and valuing the wealth of wisdom, gained from experience, which I have to pass on.

Blessing and encouraging younger generations,

Knowing and preserving the Rites of Passage, that welcome younger souls into the next stages of their lives.

Knowing when to slow down the pace of life, to smell the roses, and when to accelerate, pick up the pace, plant new roses.


Knowing what I believe, and why.

Knowing I am not in charge, and that a Higher Power is,

Knowing that all is in divine Order, fulfilling a Divine Plan.

Trusting in the Higher Power,

Trusting that all I need do is to ask and it shall be given, seek and I will find it, knock and the door will be opened.

Truly living by the Golden Rule.

Accepting my experience that love conquers fear.

Accepting the views and beliefs of others.

Accepting that there are Many Paths to Ultimate happiness.

Accepting that my judgments are based in the past
   – a perception that does not exist.

Accepting and trusting my awareness of what works and what doesn’t
   – the living in the now.

Contributors [May 2002]:
Rich Warden, Sun Eagle prosper@toad.net
Len Robinson, Grey Wolf lenrobin@telusplanet.com
Jack Graff, Loving Grandfather Wolf, lgwjg@jackgraff.com
Ken Kuffner, Blessing Bear, kuffner@hal-pc.org
[All Elder brothers in The ManKind Project.]