For men over age 38. The second half of life is not so much the chronological moment becoming over age 35 or over age 40, it’s when a person begins to say in a very radical and sort of sober considered way, “So, what’s going on here? What is my life about? What are the agencies within me that are making choices for me? What is it that I need to do that will make changes in my life?” And it’s at that point that a person may begin to walk out from underneath the umbrella, that has hovered one’s head, metaphorically speaking, that defines one’s self.
The quest is one of the oldest themes in history. Every quest on which a man embarks finds an echo in some universal search or personal yearning for meaning.
According to the latest figures, average life expectancy in the United States is 77.6 years, compared with 75.4 in 1990, reports the July 2006 issue of the Harvard Health Letter. Furthermore, old age begets older age. Today, a 65-year-old American man can expect to live to 81.6; if he reaches the age of 85, he can expect to live to see 90. Old age adds to life expectancy.
Our fathers had a life expectancy of around 60 and our grandfathers a life expectancy of around 50. They had no expectation of living the second half of life.
Today, man lives in an unprecedented era. We can expect to live over twenty years longer than our forefathers. And because our forefathers had no promise of the second half of life—we have no mentors to guide us in finding meaning in a time that can possibly equal or exceed the length of our first career. A career that for many of us took care of our families, our reputations, and our companies—but ultimately did not fulfill the yearning, the quest for meaning deep within our soul.
This two days and a half (with founder Randy Elrod) will address universal questions, universal emotions and the twelve stages of The Hero’s Journey: a pattern of narrative identified by the American scholar Joseph Campbell that appears in drama, storytelling, myth, religious ritual, and psychological development. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the man who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization.
Our time concludes with a sincere and solemn rite of passage replete with symbology and meaning on which to build a foundation to move forward into a meaningful and fulfilling second half of life.