I was fortunate to be trained to lead spiritual eldering workshops by my teacher, Rabbi Nadya Gross and in the tradition of her teacher, Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi, z”l, may his memory always be for a blessing. Reb Zalman conceived of the idea that in our elder years, our developmental task is to harvest our wisdom for the next generation. It is also the time in our lives to begin to reconcile our past and present, so we may have the future we desire.
In our contemporary American culture, we are so focused on youth that we often ignore the other stages of our lives. We are busy with getting educated, making a living, raising a family, building a career. We may put money away for our aged years, and we may even write a will, but how many of us actually imagine the lives we want to be living when we’re 75, 85 or 95?
We may know that we don’t want to be a burden on our children or that we’d rather die than have to leave our own homes when we can no longer take care of ourselves alone, but what have we actually done to provide ourselves with alternatives we’d like to have available when the time comes?