As native spiritual resources recede, man is encouraged to strive. So runs the cosmic law.1
It takes enthusiasm; meeting the world with optimism, joy and energy. Whereas in our younger years we got enthusiastic about almost anything, it was also often fleeting and didn’t make the difference we hoped for. As we get a bit older we need to dig deeper for it, yet it is more important than ever!
The torch of youth has a way of flaring up and flickering out. Enthusiastic elder people carry a torch, lit years ago, that burns ever brighter.1
Enthusiasm grows from our idealism - a standard or a view that things can be better, and that we (I) can play a part in getting us (me) there.
Post the youthful militancy of the sixties the word has become much maligned. Nonetheless, our idealism represents the foundation of all our energy, our joie de vivre, and our drive. If the future we are living into is not inspiring, nothing is!
You are the elders for the next generation… but here's the challenge
As Rudolf Steiner pointed out over one-hundred years ago: we all reach a moment where natural enthusiasm runs out. This generally happens between 38 and 42. A soul-dampness sets in and we have to start looking for new sources of energy and enthusiasm.
On this transition hinges your experience of health and vitality; of satisfaction and joy in the long second half of your life. The alternative is a grim…
Natural idealism burns bright in the youth, dims down and dampens in the thirties, then is quenched and dies. For man (and women) to be renewed for the second half of life, [idealism] must be rekindled from within, deliberately. Without this renewal from within we carry on - gradually coasting down the hill, a has-been, a "was", an unkept promise 1
With age, enthusiasm itself changes, it becomes more powerful
The idealism generated consciously within the bosom of the mature man or woman has a different calibre to it to that of our younger selves – most importantly it creates life, it doesn’t just reflect it.
Picture the tone of voice and you can hear the difference: no longer the sparking, ardent braying of didactic sincerity or the dull intonation of wisdom received from an elevated guru (not really understood), from the mouth of someone who had made this transition comes a deeper, more resonant expression of lessons-learnt. The same words perhaps, but where youthful enthusiasm can open a new front, or carve a new path, those who are successful at reconstituting their youthful ideals through the crucible of life, their words are alive with possibility, warmth and empathy.
When I was young I always wanted things to get done… quickly, always impatient… and things took so much work. Now, a couple of words and things just happen…
As the poet (Wordsworth) sang, we enter this world “trailing clouds of glory” and these clouds carry us forward for nearly four decades… and then they are gone.
Founded on a well-honed idealism, an enthusiastic outlook on life, is critical as we age. The difference is that in the second half of life this idealism must be generated and honed from within, from our own resources, where for young people it is provided free-of-charge.
Where do I find these new sources of enthusiasm?
You look inwards. Whereas the idealism of youth comes from the world, with age it comes from within, from your own experiences.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready to look at new ways to take charge of the second half …. here are here are four ways we can help:
4. If you want to ask some questions or get a sense of how to start looking for your own Leitmotif you can book a quick private chat with me HERE (pls note you can't register into a program this way, but you can check me out and see if we click)
 p. 72-78 "The Human Life" by George and Gisela O'Neil
In fact, the growth and progression of our bodies themselves serve as both an engine and a metaphor for this process. Young bodies naturally generate the energy that underpins an idealistic state-of-mind. With age this process is reversed and the body itself becomes a dampener... as my friend put it at dinner last night, it feels ‘denser’