Reaching the Point Where We are “Priceless and Ageless”

Posted by on Apr 28, 2011 in Baby Boomers | 4 comments


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There’s a TV commercial for MasterCard that talks about the cost of various items when people spend time together, and it ends by telling us that the relationship is ‘priceless.’

I think for those of us over 50-years-old, passion for something we’re involved with is not only priceless, it’s also ‘ageless.’ This is the real eternal fountain of youth.

Let me give you an example of how a 98-year-old man who I know maintains amazing mental vitality and is my role model for the future.

I’ve been practicing psychotherapy in New York City for the past 30 years, mostly in private practice. That’s a funny word, isn’t it; “practice.” Sometimes I quip that if I practice long enough, eventually I’ll get it right. Or, like the old joke, how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice.

For the past eight years I’ve been participating in a weekly seminar with this 98-year-old-man, who is a senior analyst. Of course for him, ‘senior’ has a double meaning. Usually it refers to experience. In this case it also means he was 90-years-old when I began working with his group.

I have been continuously amazed at this man’s mental acuity. We read articles on psychoanalysis and discuss them. Some of them, he wrote. We present vignettes from difficult cases and get clearer insights into people’s internal struggles. He has the ability to zoom in with his analytic magnifying glass and get to the key issue that’s roadblocking either the patient or the analyst.

One thing that comes across powerfully every single time we meet is that this man loves what he has been doing for what seems like a thousand years. He understands the unconscious process of the human mind and loves to teach us how we can understand it. And that continually fuels and inspires my love for this most difficult and gratifying profession.

Mysteries have always interested me and there is none so complex and intriguing as the human unconscious. Our labyrinth of thoughts, emotions, and motivations keeps me interested and involved during my sessions with patients. And when a session is like that, time suspends. Until of course I utter the infamous words, “We do have to stop now.”

Someone once asked our timeless leader why he hasn’t retired. He said, “What am I going to do, play shuffleboard in Florida?” I submit, had he made that choice, he wouldn’t be alive today. He continues to write articles and make presentations at conferences and I think he’s working on yet another book.

Oh, and yes, he does walk with just a little less bounce in his step than he used to, but the mind is still priceless and ageless.

I remember a Jules Pfeiffer cartoon many years ago in the Village Voice that showed a man of boomer age range looking in the mirror and exclaiming, “But I’m only 18 years old.”

That’s a feeling I’ve had many times myself. And every Monday morning at 10 a.m., the fountain of youth is alive and well and living around the conference table at our priceless, ageless seminar leader’s Manhattan home.

Don Nelson PortraitI’d love to hear how young YOU feel? Share your own perspective on your “priceless” and “ageless” way of life.

[This article was originally released on BoomerCafe.com, a lively blog geared to baby boomers. To read the original article and comments (including the 98-year-old's son), go to: http://www.boomercafe.com/2011/05/15/reaching-the-point-where-we-are-priceless-and-ageless/]

4 Comments

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  4. Hey there! I fully agree with your opinion.

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