We daily grow old. Our aging starts with the birth and continues day after day. But when “we feel” indeed that we are close to the beginning of our definitive psycho-physical decline, when we believe to be near to the final season of our life, it is the moment in which we have to show all our capacity to a new adaptation. It is especially in the delicate phase of transition between maturity and senility that the "young old person” has to adapt itself to a new condition in the relationship with itself and with others.

         Let's set us, now, a fundamental question for founding inside ourselves a possible answer: is it able a ripe age person to love, to create, to invent, to positively day-dream, to aspire to new transformations, to still experiment some “lightness” of the being? Will we answer that there is yet space in the elderly one for the "Island that not is", for happy thoughts that allow it to fly and to free “lost children[1], or will we say that will be only a sad waiting for the unknown day after Island ? Our answer will certainly derive from our general feeling towards the life and weltanschauung but, partly, it will be also the fruit of the culture to which we belong, that is the collective way of thinking about the old age by our community. 

         It seems that the post-modern society faces the old man with  an apparent  (among its so many) contradiction: on the one hand, according to a certain cultural stereotype, it give him a negligible, if not entirely irrelevant, social role; at the same time it imposes him “to keep young” at any cost, whatever the age and preventing him from tasting with serenity his “really time” (considering that every period of the life has negative aspects and positive aspects).

         Personally I very much esteem the Jungian optic that recognizes to the elderly person also the ability to continue in his own process of individuation and to go on searching for his own way of living, for the true Self, for the completion of the totality of his being; with the awareness that in the elderly person, as in the youngest person, the way that brings to the individuation never ends.         

         It lfollows that each of us, reached old age, doesn't have to simply represent “a grey”, but an individual that has a name and a last name, protagonist of a “long” personal story and wealthy in many other stories concerning his lived and interiorized experiential world.

         On this account, a “third age” people’s psychotherapy can appear reasonable, above all if, going out any its "prophetic" and taxonomic label, succeeds in helping the elderly one to recover, “name and last name”, the depth meaning and the whole value of his personal novel.

         The following pages offer a panorama on the senescence[2] and on the factors that can negatively or positively influence it.

Can Peter Pan still fly?

[1]  They are references to the movie"Hook", by Steven Spielberg; Tristan Pictures; 1991.

[2] Physic, mental and psychological decline due to ageing.



journal's editions