Reimagine Aging with Purpose and Engagement with Richard Leider and David Shapiro

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The truth about aging is that everyone, everywhere, is aging, whether we like it or not. We need new models and a new story of what it means to be old because the anti-aging mindset is pervasive in Western culture. Lieder and Shapiro point out that with each passing moment, we’re further from birth, and closer to death, and there’s nothing we can do about that. But they have good news. Aging doesn’t have to be passive; it can be an active process. They tell us that instead of getting old, we can grow old. This dialogue reveals how we can age on our own terms for as long a possible. They write: “By making choices about what it means to be old, we’re not denying time advances, but we are taking charge of what it means to ‘act our age’ in our own way.” The earlier we begin to reimagine old age, the better. Join Leider and Shapiro as they guide us in aging into the fullness of life. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Richard J. Leider is the founder of Inventure -The Purpose Company, whose mission is to help people “unlock the power of purpose”. 

Leider is the author of many books including: 

David A Shapiro is a philosopher, educator, and tenured philosophy professor at Cascadia College in Seattle. 

Leider and Shapiro are the co-authors of many books considered classics in the personal growth field. They include:

  • Repacking Your Bags and The Power of Purpose (Mjf Books 1996)
  • Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old? The Path of Purposeful Aging. (Berrett-Koehler Publishing 2021) 

To learn more about the work of Richard Leider and David Shapiro go to 

Topics explored in this dialogue include: 

  • How can we grow older rather than merely get old as we age
  • Why taking ownership of the word “old” will lead to a more positive mindset of aging
  • What is purposeful aging
  • What is the process that Hirsch Wilson suggests in helping us to face the fact that we are all aging
  • How time is our most valuable currency, not money
  • What makes our storytelling more than just looking in our rearview mirror
  • What are some questions to ask yourself to find your true calling, gifts, and purpose
  • Why being useful and of service to the world is the true miracle and purpose of our lives
  • How meeting Viktor Frankl changed Lieder’s life by teaching that the last of the human freedoms is choice
  • Why isolation is fatal and research shows that sharing our lives in community leads to better health
  • How purpose is fundamental to healing, happiness, and longevity
  • What are some difficulties for those who are aging on a limited, fixed income
  • Why it is important to cultivate a person in your life to be a committed listener and to learn to be one yourself
  • What are some of the exercises and guiding questions that are outlined at the end of the book to be of help when working in a circle with friends 

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 12/8/2023   Program Number: 3803

Music Playlist

From Album: Classical Music for Contemplation (Celestial Harmonies)
Artist: Various

Opening Essay: Track 02 Adagio from Cello Concerto in C (Vivaldi)
Music Break 1: Track 03 Largo from Concerto for harpsichord, Strings, & Continuo No, 5 in F minor (Bach)
Music Break 2: Track 09 Sonata #2 from The Seven Last Words of Christ (Haydn)
Music Break 3: Track 14 In Paradisum from Requiem Op. 48 (Fauré)