We are living in an ageing population, with the “baby boom” generation now entering their elderly years. The census has estimated that by 2050, the number of seniors will have risen to 80 million. That equates to 1 in every 5 American Citizens being elderly. We will all become part of the ageing population at some stage, and we need to embrace this spiritual journey. Through the philosophy of Carl Jung, we can learn and consider what getting older means to us personally, and also as a member of the human race.
Living the morning life
Carl Jung was known to talk about the first part of life as being “the morning life”. This is a natural description, in the same way as considering that we move through the changing seasons. We move from spring and the birth and regrowth, through to winter when the trees let go and lose their leaves. The morning life is a time for awakening, learning and embracing our active imagination. It is the essential time when we need to develop self-understanding and our place in the world. With energy and vitality we have the opportunity to explore the goals in life that we set ourselves. It is a time when we need to keep our eyes open to the meaning and purpose of the journey that we are taking.
The morning life spiritual development is essential to our wellbeing. Jung said “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you really are.” This part of our life is when we can educate ourselves on becoming that person, and being comfortable in our skin. Without this, it is difficult to move onto the afternoon life without becoming bitter and stifled. It is about making no apologies for your growing personality, and developing the strength and courage to express yourself, and have opinions about what matters most to you. This level of self-awareness means that you can have a meaningful life.
Living the afternoon life
The second part of our life - the afternoon life - gives us an opportunity to explore the destiny that we are meant to have. Jung said “The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot merely be a pitiful appendage to life's morning.” These years, are when we can use the knowledge that we have developed and use it for a greater good. The average life expectancy is 71.4 years, this is such a short amount of time, and the years always seem to speed up as we get older. This gives us an even greater reason for us to grasp every opportunity that we have to make our way in the world. The afternoon life should be for taking on essential roles in the community, and teaching family.
Accepting our ageing
American society as a whole is too obsessed with youth. It is in every magazine, on television, and on every billboard throughout the country. People spend small fortunes on trying to remove wrinkles, and reverse the signs of ageing. Jung said “For the most part our old people try to compete with the young.” However, this infatuation with remaining young is inhibiting our growth and progress as a human being. We are on a journey of self-discovery and realization, and accepting the fact that we are ageing is a healthy and important part of this.
Looking to Carl Jung’s philosophy and teachings as we get older can help us not only to understand our place in the world, but also to live a fulfilled life. We are meant to get older, it is a natural progression, and as we age, then we continue to learn about the universe that we live in.
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