My Elderquest: Crossing the Chasm from Older to Elder

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More About This Title My Elderquest: Crossing the Chasm from Older to Elder


In our society, there are no rituals or rites-of-passage for growing older or becoming an elder. Elderhood is not that highly valued. For many, it is like trying to cross a chasm, a great divide, one side of which is a life of isolation and loneliness. The other a life of fulfillment, meaning, engagement, and happiness. The Elderquest is a search for wisdom, connection, and integrity in later life. It's an imaginative approach for reflecting on the experience of aging - one that is mentally stimulating and appealing to people of many ages as they each travel their own life journey. It is a whole new life stage that comes during that gift of years when we are still vital, still curious, and still healthy and active. Most importantly, still growing emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. And it comes at a time when we are developing a broader, deeper, and more carefully considered perspective on the meaning and value of life. The Elderquest is a process, a rite-of-passage based on the "heroic journey," a journey in which we seek insights into and answers about our future. The stakes are high, time is short, and we seek answers to the questions of "how will I live; how will I find meaning, fulfillment and happiness in the latter part of my life?" It is a new and more positive narrative for successful aging. Both inspiring and practical, My Elderquest is filled with personal experiences, action plans and exercises to show you how you can cross that chasm from older to elder.


My name is Dick Buckles. As a Psychologist I specialize in personal and organizational change. For the past 40 years I've helped many people and organizations build their competencies and capabilities in the areas of personal effectiveness and self-esteem and in organizational effectiveness – where I’ve conducted organizational assessments, culture change, innovation, quality management, leadership development and coaching. More recently, my focus has been on issues related to what I call our "quest for life." By that I mean, issues related to our growing older and living a fuller and more meaningful life. As I grew into my ‘60s I was concerned about how I wanted to live the rest of my life. I began to ask how I was going to spend my last few decades. Naturally, I was concerned about finances and physical health, but I was just as concerned about my psychological and emotional health. I wanted to become an “elder” and not just grow “older.” I’ve always tried to live by a certain set of values, to experience meaning and purpose in my career and my life. I wanted to continue that into my elder years. It took me a little over five years to discover, experience and resolve many of those issues. I was on a journey that many millions of people are taking now and I wanted to share the story of that journey. I recorded it and turned it into a process I call “My ElderQuest” and my hope is to share that story with others through speaking, coaching, and workshops.