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.”

NEW BOOK!

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.

OUT OF THE WOODS

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
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Resources

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, 

Natural Happiness Blog

Resource Toolkit: Conflict Resolution Process

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Resource Toolkit: Community Mapping Process

The four-stage approach I’ve set out below may look elaborate, and you could go through it more informally. Communities of various kinds are likely to become very important for all of us in the uncertain years ahead: the benefit of a thorough review is getting clarity...

Resource Toolkit: Embodiment, sound and movement

As you can imagine, these topics are hard to cover in a book. Many approaches of this kind are best experienced in sessions with a teacher, or at minimum from their videos. I’ve learned most in this area from Neil Douglas-Klotz: you’ll find a range of video and audio...

Resource Toolkit: Natural Communication

Natural Communication provides the skills to express yourself, hear others, have a fruitful conversation. These methods are part of my overall Natural Happiness model using gardening analogies. All this is closer to gardening than you might think: both need a dynamic...

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