The Humanist within acknowledges the fact that, as humans, we are prone to fall off our chosen path from time to time. Therefore, we offer the six ‘REALMS’ of whole-person aging to sustain you on this journey.
Openness to possibilities necessitates a willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty. Indeed, this was the wellspring for much of the creativity witnessed during the Renaissance. This same openness is a prerequisite to successful aging. All the possibilities of life can only become actualized after we are open to them. A recent prospective study of elderly people supports this affirmation: Elderly people who see the process of aging in a positive light live approximately seven years longer than those who view getting old negatively
Humanism resulted in a transformation of prevailing views of being human. It stressed development of the whole person – intellectually, physically and spiritually. An appreciation of refining the five senses as a means to enliven experience also led to new observations of human behavior, personality and of the natural world. Continual nurturing of the senses is a means to enliven and enhance the ultimate experience of aging.
Developing your potential also means understanding not just your potential for growth and success but also your potential for failure – how your personality, behavior, and human nature can help or hinder your journey. Along the youthful-aging journey, you are likely to encounter adversaries to your continued personal growth and transformation over the remainder of your life. These adversaries are varied and risky. They include distractions from your chosen path and interruptions which can cause you to lose your way; wanting to cease traveling along your intended path and return to your former path because of a lack of emotional commitment; becoming imprisoned by thoughts of the past and worries about the future; questioning whether there is any meaning in the journey; feeling that the burden of making the journey alone is too great. The wise traveler will realize that the location for each one of these hazards is to be found in the same place – within him. With awareness and preparation, it is possible to survive these hazards.