1. Health

By Jim Selman

Health is the first of five declarations made in the Eldering Ceremony.

Health is precious to us all. Health, however, is more than just the state of our body and biology at a given moment. “Healthy” people can become ill, have accidents or be handicapped. And, obviously, everyone, even all healthy people, die.

We do not measure health objectively: two people with exactly the same physical condition can have two different experiences of health. Healthiness—or our sense of well-being—is, essentially, our uniquely personal evaluation of our vitality and aliveness.

The quality of the relationships we have with others and the extent of our participation in life influence our well-being. When we are engaged and curious, when we are learning and present, then we are well—no matter what the condition of our physical health. And when we are fully participating in life with others, our bodies and our minds typically respond in the most positive way available.

As we grow older, it is easy to withdraw into ourselves, to focus on our memories and past experiences. We can then become less present and less engaged, disconnected from the life happening all around us. The result of this focus on self to the exclusion of others can be a loss of vitality, a loss of purpose, and a loss of health and well-being.

Take The Health Challenge

We challenge you to sustain your commitment and your practices of involvement and participation in every area of your life. As you know, participation is not the same as staying busy. Participation means to join in, to play full out, to press yourself to the limit—it is not about simply going through the motions of living as you age.

Well-being is a choice. We challenge you to remember that you are the Chooser when you forget.

We ask that you be a teacher and a mentor to others of all ages in the domain of health.

We ask that you stand for the possibility of well-being throughout life for those who will follow.

Do you accept these challenges and this responsibility as an Elder in our world?

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