Host: Anti-Aging Psychologist Dr. Michael Brickey
Guest: Dr. Angeles Arrien
Broadcast and podcast on webtalkradio.net. The podcast is also on the links below
Children immerse themselves in the fun and identity metaphors of Harry Potter, young adults in the metaphors, mentors, and finding meaning in Star Wars. But what about the quest for identity and meaning after 50? Dr. Arrien has studied literature, poetry, and many cultures to help us seek our own quest for a richer, more meaningful second half of life.To review, like the Freudian psychologist Carl Jung, Dr. Arrien is fascinated with symbols, metaphors, and cultural heritage.
In The Second Half of Life, she focuses on the neglected subject of psychological and spiritual development after 50. It is refreshing to hear our sixties described as the youth of our wisdom years and eighties and nineties and beyond as the peak of our wisdom years. She describes 50 as a milestone when people tend to start shifting from an emphasis on ambition to an emphasis on meaning, from doing to being, from acquisition to divestiture, from me to we. She describes it as a time of increased clarity and objectivity.
She distinguishes journaling from keeping a diary with journaling being more insight and action oriented. She uses four questions: What has inspired me, what has challenged me, what has surprised me, and what has touched or moved me. She noted that in death and dying research, people want the closure of having addressed five issues: thank you, I love you, forgive me, I forgive you, and goodbye. She talked about the eight lies, for example, I’ll be happy when I have more money, when I marry the right person, when I and more successful, etc. and the four bones—the backbone, wishbone, funny bone and hollow bone.
Addressing this subject was a stretch for me in while I certainly use a lot of metaphors in therapy, coaching, and hypnosis, I usually use them strategically to achieve a fairly specific objectives, as opposed to be immersed in them as a general growth exercise. It’ not a question of who is right but different people resonating with different styles. For example, some people thrive on meditation; while others would find it torture. Thus, I am delighted to have the diversity, and I am delighted to stretch my own thinking and my own style by reading The Second Half of Life and talking with Dr. Arrien.
I read her book the hard way—in a day. It is really much better suited and more valuable to read a few pages a day to let the ideas incubate before reading more. I find her concept of concept of monthly journaling with a focus on growth questions and action especially generative. Finally, it is important to get associate with positive people. Dr. Arrien is positive and her view of aging is very refreshing and positive.