Mika Launikari


What's the point of ageing?

Published on and modified on Permalink

What’s the point of ageing, if you cannot tell a good story? How to give meaning to your life experience, how to put the essence of your private and/or professional life into words? To capture the thread of our lives from birth until today – either in writing or speaking – is probably something we all humans do at a certain point on our life paths. Usually this happens when we are at a crossroads in life or when an important milestone is approaching us.

My family and friends have started teasing me by asking how I am going to celebrate my 50th birthday in a couple of years. To some of them I have responded that maybe there is no point of celebrating the actual ageing as these days most people in the world reach the age of 50 anyway and I cannot see anything special in that. Maybe I am in denial and I have difficulties in accepting my own ageing, and thus, I do not want to throw an age-is-only-numbers party. To some others I have vaguely hinted that there might be a slight possibility of having “The Round Years Birthday Party”, but that it in that case will be something unique and not solely focusing on the “age factor”.

Isn’t it so that we traditionally associate turning 50 years old with maturity and stability, and we wish to think that we have discovered and fulfilled our life mission to a great extent by then? Internally we wish to be convinced of having attained true serenity and achieved something great in life and the world around us should acknowledge this. At the same time, though, we in many cases try to escape from the perceived unpleasant or banal aspects of ageing by combatting the signs of life in our physical appearance. In our desperate attempt to look forever young, we hysterically even at the age of 50, wish to give a youthful, dynamic and energetic impression.

Nevertheless, in my opinion mature age is underrated in Western societies. The quality that can manifest in adult and senior age is often ignored or disregarded. This is very much the situation in working life that does not sufficiently take advantage of intergenerational learning or of using the real potential of the more mature and older staff members. The big question to me is, how we could overcome age barriers and build cross-generational relationships in the workplace. Perhaps using more storytelling at work could be the key to this as across cultures and throughout generations narratives have been shared for entertainment, education, cultural preservation, and instilling moral values.