Coming of Aging Now

2023 was a doozie of a year. One of the hardest in the last decade or so, and one of the most transformative. I went in 77 going on 60. I came out 78 going on old. I drew a total blank around “old” as it pertains to me. And so I dove into the underworld, and came out looking through the eyes of my soul.

In the before times, the holiday season in my village was one party after another. It was laughing (right in one another’s faces!) and renewing friendships and caroling and gift giving. The pandemic came, we isolated and had not really restarted village life during the 2022 holidayseason. I felt terribly lonely.

In this absence of the happy continuity of life, I realized I was no longer in the middle of life, one-thing-after-another. Besides having a will and a burial plot, I was unprepared. My imagination was empty about what this part of my life might be.

Our society doesn’t make elders

We make young people surprised to be in old bodies and then trying to fix the problem.

I’d survived cancer when I was 60, but that was different. That was an interruption, not finality.

“What happens,” I wondered, “between someone’s “productive” years and their obituary, maybe decades later?” It can’t just be cruises. Or “spending more time with their family…” Or the ageist projections of the stages of decline, the joint replacements and cataracts and then memory slips and is that dementia?

The question initiated the true tasks of initiation into eldering. Facing the past. Letting go of pretense and the exhausting effort to keep a persona going. Making amends. Forgiving others. Forgiving oneself. Letting go. Becoming honest about mortality – and whatever one thinks happens later. And, I’ve discovered, something marvelous may come, a lightness from letting go, a peace from reconciling with mistakes and hurts, an expansion out of the bounds of my own life.

By the end of the year, I’d gone through a wretched depression, but this time I didn’t hide or lie. I’d apologized to some people I had harmed in my mad dash to save the world. I renewed the love with people I’d left behind. I’d let the ghosts out of the basement of my psyche, and embraced them. I’d called home some of my scattered selves. I’d taken time to look into the face of death. I found myself welcoming the mystery of growing old.

I call this initiation coming of aging.

Coming of aging, like coming of age, explores those times in our lives when – with shock, confusion, curiosity – we realize we are beings in time. Puberty, meno-(and mano) pause, mid-life crisis, retirement have been hashed over, but aging as a fascinating and fearful stage in any life is quite mysterious.

What comes to mind? Decline. Disability. Dementia. Unwelcome aloneness. Sagging everything. Invisibility. A litany of things you can’t do anymore. More and more your work is staying upright and not complaining too much.

Or maybe the image is: “the best is yet to be.” Travel. Grandkids. Hobbies. A condo with less responsibility.

Maybe to all of it, yet there is a grace as well. Yes, we will die, yet from now to then, what a beautiful time for the soul.

Coming of Aging is, in part, the lived experience of aging, not the commercialized sunset years – with anti-aging creams, and insurance policies, and avoiding the gauntlet of indignities that we fear. It’s soul work. I’m still finding my honest way through the inner life of aging. What they say this isn’t for sissies, it’s not about the body.

Western civilization is also “coming of aging”

…after a 500-year run. In the before times for our societies, it seemed we could tackle one issue at a time. We couldn’t, but it seemed that way. Then we were slammed with January 6, fires, floods, the rise of the radical right, the pandemic, and, and, and… As I realized I’d entered the final phase of my own life, and started to work through the very sober tasks of reconciling with my past, other people, my limitations, and death, I could see how our country is also at the end of a long story with many skeletons in many closets. Will we do the work of reconciliation, amends, reparations, maturing?

Coming of Aging is reconciling with the passage of time, and with the knowledge that you are living in something that will eventually die. It’s big work, and we can go it alone, or do it together.


Actually everyone is coming of aging.

With every turn of a decade most of us feel the weight of the passage of time. OMG, I’m 30. I’m 40. I’m 50. I’m 64 – what the Beatles said was old.  I’ll turn 80 soon. 80! Society has markers for these decades, but these have nothing to do with our lived experience. I have no idea how my 80s will go.

Stick with me. I’ll tell stories. You’ll tell stories. We’ll live into whatever this maybe together.


  1. Dear Vicki,

    I watched the video and immediately watched it again and it wasn’t until the end of the second loop that I realized who you are. You changed my life in 1992 when I read your book! Thank you! To this day I still tell people to calculate their real hourly wage.

    Coming of Ageing resonated deeply with me. I am 54 and my husband is 61 and soon we are headed towards retirement (whatever that means) and life is beautiful.

  2. Just wandered here and am liking your home base a lot. It’s handsome and easy to navigate and should have more action goin on. I’ve been doing something like this, parking My Stuff in a place I control, (without this feedback function, which I handle elsewhere). My system has been to drop bits in social, linking people to my site. It’s not great–my reach isn’t as broad as yours, but I keep hoping to lure readers to my home base. I know you’ve gone to Substack, sigh. When that’s been going a while, let me know if it’s worth it?

    1. I’ll reply here and in person. I had that dilemma. curate my personal vickirobin.come, or use substack. Here;s what I considered. first, this coming of aging topic is so far from my old Doña Quixote world changing work that I didn’t want to go private there where i’ve been so public. I might change my mind about that. Second, on Substack new readers can find you. others can recommend your writing. You are in the company of so many good (mostly) writers. It’s a community of sense making. I’ve found others on my same coming of aging topic. inspiring! humbling! educational! shows me where my writing fits in the COA community. Very Very good. Third, if you don’t try to monetize your blog there, they manage your email list! for free. I invited those on my old moldy list over. Most of the addresses bounced but those interested did join me so now we are pushing 900 potential readers. My desire is to write my heart out and invite a community. Your choice.


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