Exciting News About Aging : A New Theory of Lifespan
Coming of Age recently learned of psychotherapist and human development expert, Stefan Deutsch, who is researching, exploring and advocating for exactly what we believe to be true: that we who are over 50 are in a third stage of growth and development, not declining or diminishing, but rather, realizing our full potential. He believes that “we have the opportunity to redefine aging as an ever upward-arcing lifespan process, one we can look forward to at any age.”
Deutsch notes that, “The average person in their 40s and beyond does not consider much about growing older as exciting. What is exciting about becoming physically weaker; less attractive; anticipating all the illnesses advertised on TV; losing our memories? However, there is a small percentage of people who live healthy, productive lives and are predisposed to continuing them – staying active, taking care of self, being productive, enjoying life. They don’t need words like ‘positive, conscious, or graceful’ placed in front of “aging” to inspire them. They are doing it already. What about the other 98-99%?”
Deutsch believes that a huge problem in the world is that our most valuable resource, people over 50, is going to waste…literally. “’A mind is a terrible thing to waste’ but wasting a heart is a crime,” he states. His response to our ignorance about the most valuable thing human beings have—love–is to offer it unconditionally to each other… with those in the third stage of development being the most capable, if developed, to offer it. It is one thing to say things that sound good, feel good; it is another to bring science and theory to it. Can we prove there is a third stage of development? And what do we develop during this third stage? Deutsch has developed a Theory of Lifespan that proves that there is a third stage, and why it is most powerful and important for our collective wellbeing and the health of our planet.
Deutsch founded Creative Aging, Inc. a 501(c)3 non-profit some 35 years ago with Johanna Vandenberg, PhD. The research they did then still holds – when asked to draw a graph of aging most people drew a bell shaped curve with 30-40 being the high point of life satisfaction and steadily declining after that. People may be enjoying their retirement, but they just aren’t inspired by popular concepts of aging nor believe that it offers a unique opportunity to become their most accomplished and powerful selves.
Deutsch proposes that a revolutionary new Lifespan Theory is missing. Even the word ‘aging’ is misleading. We are never aging – we are always growing. Starting with our body for the first 20 years – then our brain/mind which continues to develop for another 20 – and then what?
He believes there is a third developmental stage, and once people understand what is waiting for them–greater power and control over life, with the ability to touch other human beings – they will be inspired to invest in their future, taking their health, relationship skills, passions, legacy, and the education to develop these aspects much more seriously. This last stage is the most exciting as we potentially reach the zenith of what it means to be human. But it requires schooling like the other two stages did. Deutsch is creating an institute, but in the meantime he is traveling around the world teaching his ideas to appreciative audiences.
“Of course, before there is a school, first there has to be a new theory of aging for people like us to learn,” he says.
Stefan Deutsch will be presenting this June at the 2017 International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality in Chicago on “Transforming the Context of Aging: Power to Affect Change through Developing Conscious Awareness and Unconditional Behavior.”
He is conducting a clinical trial on stress and burnout prevention for doctors, nurses, and residents at Danbury Hospital, CT, with promising results.
Interested in supporting his work, having him speak at an event? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.