Who will you grow old with? Who do you have history with? Who will stick with you? Who have you not met yet? How and where will you live alongside the perhaps “unknown who” – aging with intent and independence?
These questions all have individual answers that exist within a broader social context and by extension, as the questions continue; to what extent will your responses influence the promise of your longevity?
Conversations in coffee shops, living rooms and in media exposes seem to be quite prevalent with boomers, (over obsessed one could muse), in an attempt to redefine a new version of “golden years”, with “second careers” and “affordable lifestyle retirements”. How fortunate some of us are to even have this discussion, while so many at any age struggle to make their financial and physiological needs met right now; never mind visions for the future.
With all this comes the realization that societal changes, (like the shifting nature of families and the evolution of other networks and communities), are contributing to the re-colouring of those golden years.
Considering that we age in stages or phases throughout a lifetime, and today in more variable social formations; the new reality is that, the who you grow old with may not be the who you think they are. So what’s it to be? Intentional community? Involuntary confinement? Independent isolation? Maybe to start, the “who” you better get to know and like is the one person you will grow old with first – yourself.