From zero to twenty-one is about eight thousand days. From twenty-one to mid-life crisis is eight thousand days. From mid-forties to sixty-five—eight thousand days. Nowadays, if you make it to sixty-five you have a fifty-per-cent chance you’ make it to eighty five. Another eight thousand days! That’s no longer a trip to Disney and wait for the grandchildren to visit and die of the virus you get on a cruise. We’re talking about rethinking, redefining one third of adult life! The greatest acheivement in the history of humankind—and all we can say is that it’s going to make Medicare go broke? Why don’t we take that one-third and create new stories, new rituals, new mythologies for people as they age?
From Younger Longer by Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, May 20, 1019
Walkabouts are ancient Rites of Passage
practiced by indigenous Australians to announce their new spirit to the world,
and to demonstrate their fitness to assume the privileges and responsibilities of the next stage of life.
They sanction and bless the inner and outer work that must be done
if one is to move purposefully through the natural portals of life.
According to the ancients, one enters the next phase of life in fullness only through ritual and effort.
Traditionally, Walkabouts occurred at adolescence to mark the passage into adulthood, and took months to fulfill.
One left on a Walkabout as a boy and returned as a man.
In the time that he was away on the Walkabout, he demonstrated his proficiency to function
as a responsible member of the next phase of life.
This proficiency was a singular achievement, an expression of his unique identity,
and it was celebrated by his community upon his return.
At Farther On, we borrow the spirit of this practice and apply it to the equally challenging task of becoming an elder.
Elders do not become elders simply by growing old or leaving the work force.
Elderhood is an earned state, part privilege and part responsibility.
Furthermore, one cannot declare oneself an elder;
the role must be bestowed by others in your community who recognize you as such.
We currently have no mechanisms or institutions to do so in our society.
Farther On provides the spark to relight this ancient fire and make it relevant to our times.
An Elderhood Walkabout, then, is part test, part blessing.
In an Elderhood Walkabout, we help you create elder challenges to match your growth and learning goals,
selecting from a variety of topic areas especially appropriate to the privileges and responsibilities of this phase of life:
Creative Expressions of the Emerging Self
Encounters with the Great Mystery
Beholding Your New Self, Body, and Soul
Transforming Loneliness into Solitude
Performing Acts of "Secret Service"
New Ways of Savoring the World
Personal Acts of Elderhood in Family and Community
In an Elderhood Walkabout, you will meet up with kindred spirits designing their own challenges, and together
you will form support groups, or mutual mentoring circles, to keep you focused and enthused about your work.
Finally, we will help you design a communal ritual to honor the work you have done and the passage you are making.
David Oldfield and Richard (Rocky) Kimball have, for decades, designed processes and tools
to support individual change, growth, and development.
They will help you design your own personalized Elderhood Walkabout as you contemplate your next life transition.
And, collectively, they will work to create a framework for encouraging self-directed Elderhood Walkabouts
for executives and leaders in their organizations.
In an Elderhood Walkabout, we will explore how to adapt this ancient practice to our current times and circumstances.
Part adventure, part artistic expression, part personal declaration, part service to a greater good,
Elderhood Walkabouts result in tangible plans and commitments to new beginnings and an emerging self.