Tribes for the Elderly

Tribes for the Elderly

I have a speaking engagement tonight. The invitation came from a close friend to whom I never say no.

More importantly, she mentioned that there was a group of people in their seventies who met every month. I was intrigued. Allow me to explain why.

When we think about health, wellness, and longevity, we think of food, exercise, breathing, or meditation. These are solo sports.

What gets left out is the value of bonding and camaraderie. The value of meeting people, laughing, joking, catching up, and just having a good time. 

When we were young, this occurred naturally. We were in school; we went to music classes, riding classes, and so on.

Each of these gave us opportunities to create a tribe and hang out. In fact, we badly wanted to belong. We would go to enormous lengths to be a part of something.

Then, as we got older, we started to retreat from society. Our "tolerance" for the other became lower. We had high expectations from people. We narrowed the worldview into which people ought to fit. You were only allowed in if you did. 

Our capacity to interact with others became limited.

Which is why I was fascinated to learn that a large group of people in their seventies were meeting regularly. They would bond, learn, and share.

Tonight, I am the learning resource.

As we grow older, friends move. Some pass on. We might lose a loved one. Our children might migrate or move for better prospects. In any case, their availability is low due to jobs and social pressures.

Older people also find it difficult to express their needs. The need to engage with other human beings and belong.

So I found the concept of a socially bonded group in their seventies fascinating.

If you are young, build this tribe. If you are older and don't have one, create one for yourself.

If you are already part of one, more power to you. 

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