How long has it been since you thought about your “prime of life”? Are you in it, past it, or still waiting? Actually, when is the prime of life?
One dictionary defines prime of life as the time of maturity when power and vigor are greatest. Power and vigor can be defined different ways.
We pretty much know what power is.
As for vigor, one definition is having bodily or mental strength or force.
One demonstration of mental vigor in older age is patience. Older people can stand in line, wait, distract themselves, and bide their time better. Another aspect of mental vigor is remaining curious and open after all the living we’ve done. A third might be the emotional vigor it takes to deal with drama in a calm and rational way. None of this is a given, but lots of older people acquire it.
But we’re so used to denigrating age that we’ve gotten out of the habit of thinking of ourselves as being in the prime of life, even if we feel that way.
“…when midlife was first defined, it used to be called the prime of life…Culturally, we live in a place, a society that over-idealizes youth, and even though youth is great, it maligns midlife in a very unfair and inaccurate way, and we do internalize that. Listen, we are affected by our environment.”
When is the POL? My 16-year-old granddaughter is beautiful beyond words, so you could say that physically she’s in her prime, but psychologically she’s still very new. My adult kids, for all their physical and mental prowess, aren’t as worldly as older people. A fifty-year-old might be closer to what I would consider POL, considering all her experience and life-learning, but I think its the sixties.
Prime for me is about emotional depth. I think I’m in my prime, but from what I’ve heard, the 70s are pretty fantastic, too.
According to this article, we’re starting to understand that human development doesn’t stop once you reach adulthood. Here’s a long but marvelous excerpt:
Two lessons grow out of this…The first is that human development…continues across the life span. And while individual development is shaped by (external) values, roles, and expectations, these do not predetermine a person’s path through adulthood, which is a product of one’s personality, choices, opportunities, and good or bad luck.
A second and even more important lesson is that in recent years women and men have acquired much more control over their pathway through adulthood. The norms, roles, and expectations that defined the standard life course have eroded, leaving individuals freer than ever to choose the way they wish to live…
Freedom can be a burden. It is, of course, easier, in many respects, to follow a prescribed, predictable life path. But it is far better in the end to act like a true grown-up and decide for oneself what kind of life one wants to lead.
I choose to see myself as in my prime. I’m so grateful and happy, wrinkles, sagging skin and all.
How would you define Prime of Life, and do you feel that you might be in it?