The Process of Aging
This blog post was featured in the Huffington Post on July 05, 2017
I am following up with a client to see how the succession plan we have devised is working. He says that my advice to honor his father worked extremely well. The company went public in an IPO. The father rang the bell and was beaming with happiness although he himself did not benefit from the IPO.
I remember he was telling me how there is a struggle between the two of them. His father holding tight to the reigns of the company, although incapable to control the company anymore, it outgrew him. How, out of the blue, without thinking why I would say it, I told him to honor his father as much as possible. That his father, in his age, does not need more money. He needs respect.
I truly do not know where I got this idea from so I was following up to see how it worked.
It worked like a charm. So now I started wondering why did it work?
Here is my insight.
The aging phases are a mirror of the growing stages of the life cycle.
Go on a long trip when your little children are growing. Coming back, you are surprised to see how much they grew. They are taller. They are different. Right? The process of change is rapid in the growing stages and I am noticing, like a mirror, they are rapid in the aging stages too. You can age in five months, five years. Physically I mean. Somewhat mentally too. You are not the same you were five month ago. You FEEL way older. Everyone around you that did not see you for a few months notices it too.
Notice how toddlers needs pampers. They have no control over their discharges. Same with old people.
Notice how children can not find their way home without help. Same with old people. Both can get lost without adult care.
Notice how both are very sensitive. Can cry easily. Children and old people bond easily as if they belong to the same age group.
Apparently, there is more to this mirror effect.
What does your little toddler want growing up? Appreciation. Attention. Love. Safety. Look how he rejoices when doing some tricks. You clap and tell him how wonderful he or she is.
Apparently, the same effect is in aging. Old people need the same kind of appreciation.
Both need bonding.
Would you put your little toddler kid into a boarding school and come visit him once a month for an hour or so?
Not in your life time, right? But that is what we do with old people. We put them in some “storage”, a retirement home to wait for death and come and visit them when we can.
Anyway, just thinking
Ichak Kalderon Adizes