The Story behind creative ageing

Creative ageing means figuring out how to stay happy, face problems, and grow, when you’re over 50, 60, or 70. As you get older, you may have some new freedoms and possibilities, but also losses and challenges to face. Alan Heeks has been exploring these questions for many years, both in his own life, and by leading groups, researching and writing books on the topic

Alan Heeks writes “I believe that shipwreck and re-invention are the healthy essence of the middle-life crisis, and I did mine pretty thoroughly. Two weeks before my fiftieth birthday, I moved out of my 27-year old marriage, leaving the family home and my two daughters. The following year brought depression, a cancer scare, and the loss of my main consulting client. It took me several years of turmoil to find myself again, but I had some rich adventures on the way, including blind dating, learning to cook, tantra groups and a lot of solo time in my wood. Now, as I approach 70, I believe that creative ageing is a wonderful adventure, but calls on us to learn some tough lessons and make a lot of conscious choices. I have learned hugely from my own experience and from many other people’s and I have enjoyed sharing that in my books and workshops on creative ageing.”


Not Fade Away: Staying Happy When You’re Over 64! Is for women and men age 60 plus, due for publication May 1, 2018.

The late sixties and beyond are a landmark: a good time to choose what you want from the years ahead, and take stock of the story so far. This short, practical book offers you valuable guidance, new skills, and resources to help you to be happy in your vintage years and grow through the tough bits.


Midlife and beyond can be the most fun a man has ever had. When the roles that define men dissolve – work, marriage, fatherhood – it’s a time of huge possibility and freedom, but it’s easy to feel lost, with nowhere to turn to.

This is a guide for the maturing man. It gathers the best wisdom and experience on enjoying these years to the full, and on the skills you need to handle the losses and shipwrecks, and crises – and find your way out of the woods.

Out of the Woods, published 2013, is focussed on men beyond 50, but is useful for both sexes.

Alan's new book 'Not Fade Away'

Explaining the key parts of 'Not Fade Away' and how it can enable you to enjoy your vintage years


These are some of the specific tools and processes which Alan has created as part of creative ageing.

  • Love Me Do: reinventing partnership in later years

Love can still be wonderful in our later years, but we have to let go of some baggage first – like all the simplistic ideals from the pop songs of our youth. We can’t expect our partner to look like a twenty-something film star, and we’re unlikely to find instant sexual fireworks (remember the song Wild Thing?).

  • Resource Toolkit: Change the Story

If you’re setting an intention for positive change, changing the story is an important part of shifting you or someone else out of a habitual response.

  • Timeline Insights

If turning seventy is a kind of watershed, looking back over your life and seeking the meaning is a helpful step.

To see the full list of Creative Ageing Resources, 

Creative Ageing Blogs

Not Fade Away: The Story Behind The Book

Alan Heeks shares the roots of his fresh approach to creative ageing... I believe that shipwreck and re-invention are the healthy essence of the mid-life crisis, and I did mine pretty thoroughly. Two weeks before my 50th birthday, I moved out of my 27-year old...

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Born to be wild: fresh adventures

Everyday life these days can be uncertain and unsettling for anyone, and getting older may just seem to make that worse. It may feel tempting to settle into your rut, retreat into safety. In fact, you’re likely to be more happy and resilient if you open up to fresh...

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Mysteries of elderhood: effects of ageing

Alan Heeks shares his development through the life stages When I turned sixty in 2008, I set a clear intent of moving into elderhood, growing beyond my prevailing warrior-hero approach to life. Ten years on, I can report good progress on my development through the...

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Natural Happiness Blogs

Donald Trump and the Second Coming

This guest blog was written by Maria Trap, and is reproduced with her permission.It seems a suitable Christmas blog, though the plan’s not quite working as hoped… After more than 2000 years since the birth of his son God felt that it was more than time to stage the...

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Re-learning daily happiness in Morocco

It starts with the way people greet you, seeking a real connection: with eye contact, a slow warm handshake, and the traditional blessing: A salaam alaikum, Peace be with you. I’ve been fortunate to visit North and East Africa many times, and I’m always struck by two...

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Resilent Futures Blogs

A Sufi View of Climate Change

I’ve been exploring Sufi spiritual teachings for over twenty years, and felt it might be useful to explain how these help me to live with and respond to the climate crisis. My sense is that a spiritual path and practices can help a lot in this process. So what do I...

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This needs many mainstream miracles:

An update on the climate crisis The rapid rise in awareness of the climate change crisis since summer 2019 has been remarkable, and so are the causes. The Swedish teenager Greta Thonberg has been an extraordinary catalyst, leading to the school strikes. And grassroots...

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Getting Centered Amid Confusion: The Treeheart Process

Life and work get more confusing year by year, and that’s unlikely to stop in future. Spending time in Nature is a great way to reduce its stress and find clarity, but what do you do when you have to make a decision, in your workplace or at home, within the next few...

Future Outlook: beyond resilience

RESOURCE SHEET This sheet highlights resources relevant to Alan Heeks’ workshop at CCC19, and for his work generally. IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE It seems that there is little research on impacts, using the latest data on the acceleration of climate change itself. Many...

The 8 Dimensions of Super-Resilience: How to grow into the 2020’s

Would you agree that for most people, life and work have become a lot more demanding and uncertain in recent years? And is that trend likely to grow in future? If so, what’s the positive response to the evolutionary challenge? This is what I’m calling...

Enjoying your elderhood

The term elder is used with various meanings: I’m using it to invite you to connect with the mature wisdom in yourself, and in our ancestors. Traditional tribal cultures, such as the Native Americans, Celts, and Bedouin, had great wisdom, including the role of the...

Deep ecology: a way to face the future

If you’re working with hazardous materials, you need good methods and equipment. The future really is hard to face: it can easily feel bleak and overwhelming. Many people feel pain and despair about the state of the world and the environment, and blank out to avoid these feelings.

One of the best processes I’ve found for facing this pain, and moving on to face the future constructively, is called Deep ecology.

Seeding our Future Project

Resilience and wisdom to stay happy in the years ahead PROJECT OVERVIEW INTRODUCTION: The present is already so uncertain and demanding that most of us don’t want to consider the future.  But surely the pressures and changes we face now are likely to...

Discerning, Valuing, Tolerating

Here are some specific ways to handle a crisis situation, whether personal, local or national.   Discerning Beware of scapegoats and puffball simplistic solutions: they both pop up in many crises. Realise that you and other are heated about this situation, and...

Mapping your wild margins

This matrix can help you recognise and value wild margins in yourself, or you could use it for a group such as a work team. Start by listing a few activities, skills, interests which may seem marginal and unproductive. Then explore how they could help you, and how you...

Cycles of progress map

This tool is an invitation to map your progress over time, including the ups and downs, and to celebrate both, and see if there are any cycles involved.   During my 20 years in business management and my Harvard MBA studies, progress was always defined as linear...

Using humour to defuse tensions

Do you ever feel that you spend hours in a state of high alert, where one more hassle feels like the last straw? The research quoted in our November issue (book blog - Your Brain On Nature) shows that many of us do indeed spend far too long in this state. To help you...

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