Our Future Older Selves


Our Future Older Selves: Questions for Reflection and Writing


No matter where each of us happens to be in terms of our chronological age or life-course stage, we might find it beneficial to reflect upon (and befriend!) our future older self, no matter how far away in the future that older self seems to dwell, no matter even if we are already considered to be an “older person.”

Framing questions

Who is your hoped for future self? Who is the older person you most want to become? In what ways is your future older self related to who you are right now and who you’ve been at earlier phases of your life?

When you imagine your future older self, who do you see? What are you doing? Where are you? How do you feel and move? Who or what is around you?

Detail questions

What will be your central sources of meaning? How do you want to feel? What will you consider to be the qualities of a good day?
What will your living environment be like? How will it look and feel? With whom will you share your living environment?
What kinds of relationships will you nurture and value? What role will you play in others’ lives? With whom will you interact on a regular basis?
What will be your sources of pleasure and activity? How will you care for your older bodily self? How will you live in your older body?
What new things do you hope to be learning about? How will you spend your time? What kinds of daily activities and experiences will you most value?
What will you want society to expect from you? What will you expect from society?

Enactment questions

Are there features of your life that you consider to be negotiable, nonnegotiable, or undecided? How might this influence how you imagine and become your future older self?
What kinds of lifestyle changes do you need to make? What kinds of personal work do you need to do?
What kinds of planning do you need to do on behalf of your future self?
What forms of economic security and social support do you need to create on behalf of your future self? What does your “personal safety net” look like?
What sources of meaning do you need to recapture or create in your present life?
What does your life need to look like now so that you may become your hoped for future self?
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