Friday, July 04, 2003

Older and growing... 

Carl Rogers is one of my heros. I came across his ideas of person-centred therapy and development a few years ago when I was made redundant and wondering want to do next. Being over that magic age of 40 at which, by all accounts, you start to get increasingly less easily employable, I was grappling with the contradictions between the positive side of the opportunity that redundancy represented, and the negative aspects of fear, uncertainty, self-doubt, being over-the-hill.

I had time to do a lot of reading, and a phrase from one of his essays stuck in my mind. Rogers had been asked to give retrospective on his life, and the title he chose was "Growing old - or older and growing?"

OK, at 48 I'm not exactly old yet. But looking around, I can see people whose character stopped growing maybe even before they were 20, their outlook fixed, their worldview unalterable, their eyes blind to any path other than the narrow channel down which they tread. I also see others who are still learning and growing into their 80s - questioning, experimenting, engaging in true dialogue.

I know which are having more fun, which are more engaged with living, which are getting more out of life and putting more back into it, and which I'd rather be.

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