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  • Joe Turner MA, LPC

Welcome to the Realm of Aging


Are you aging? I am.

I am old enough to remember the Korean War as a current event. I was young and immortal then. Things are changing now.

I no longer do things that formerly gave me great satisfaction. If I no longer do those things, I am no longer the person who did them. If I am no longer that person, who am I? Deep in my core, that question resonates with a sensation I sometimes interpret as sweetness, sometimes as pain. My intention is to explore that sweet pain. If that exploration interests you, follow me.

I want to caution you that reading this will not actually prepare you for the experience I am talking about. Your will either recognize it or you will not.

Most of your adult life, you’ve been turning essentially the same crank to achieve satisfaction. I’m talking about the adult realm of power, not the realm of childhood. In the realm of childhood, you had very little power to really create your own satisfaction. As you moved into the realm of adulthood, you began to have some power to achieve satisfaction through the activity of doing things in the external world. You’ve been turning the crank of that machine ever since. Sometimes this has worked well for you, sometimes it has worked less well. But it has been that crank that you have turned, that machine.

And if you are aging, as I am, that machine is now wearing out, running more slowly, no longer producing whatever satisfaction you may have achieved from it before, whether it was small or large. You are leaving the realm of adult power and transitioning into the third realm, the realm of aging. I may as well be blunt right now: The exit from this realm of life is death.

In the realm of aging you will – if you are wise – learn to crank a rather different machine. The crank you are going to begin to learn to turn in the realm of aging is the crank of internal – rather than external – satisfaction. You may already know something about this machine, in a peripheral way, but it will now become primary for you, rather than secondary. People who do not learn how to crank this machine end up starving for satisfaction. They don’t just age; they grow old.

Are you aging? I am.

I am old enough to remember the Korean War as a current event. I was young and immortal then. Things are changing now.

I no longer do things that formerly gave me great satisfaction. If I no longer do those things, I am no longer the person who did them. If I am no longer that person, who am I? Deep in my core, that question resonates with a sensation I sometimes interpret as sweetness, sometimes as pain. My intention is to explore that sweet pain. If that exploration interests you, follow me.

I want to caution you that reading this will not actually prepare you for the experience I am talking about. Your will either recognize it or you will not.

Most of your adult life, you’ve been turning essentially the same crank to achieve satisfaction. I’m talking about the adult realm of power, not the realm of childhood. In the realm of childhood, you had very little power to really create your own satisfaction. As you moved into the realm of adulthood, you began to have some power to achieve satisfaction through the activity of doing things in the external world. You’ve been turning the crank of that machine ever since. Sometimes this has worked well for you, sometimes it has worked less well. But it has been that crank that you have turned, that machine.

And if you are aging, as I am, that machine is now wearing out, running more slowly, no longer producing whatever satisfaction you may have achieved from it before, whether it was small or large. You are leaving the realm of adult power and transitioning into the third realm, the realm of aging. I may as well be blunt right now: The exit from this realm of life is death.

In the realm of aging you will – if you are wise – learn to crank a rather different machine. The crank you are going to begin to learn to turn in the realm of aging is the crank of internal – rather than external – satisfaction. You may already know something about this machine, in a peripheral way, but it will now become primary for you, rather than secondary. People who do not learn how to crank this machine end up starving for satisfaction. They don’t just age; they grow old.

Good luck!

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