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FARMINGTON — As they age, many adults view their elderhood as a time of inevitable loss and decline, filled with thoughts that can be negative and even scary.

"Will we be focused on slowly losing our health, our loved ones, our capacity to engage in meaningful activities and the other things we treasure?" said Ann Anthony, an Encore instructor at San Juan College. ?Or will the last chapters of our lives have a more positive outlook? Will they be filled with meaning and purpose? Will we be surrounded by loving, growth-fostering relationships and will we achieve a level of contentment, secure in the knowledge that our lives have been well-lived and that we have achieved what we were sent here to do?"

For the past three years, Anthony has been exploring those questions in classes through the Encore program, and her next class, "Courageous Choices, Elegant Aging," begins Monday.

"Elegant aging is simply the process of making the wise choices that will, as a natural consequence, result in our creating for ourselves a happier, healthier, more satisfying and fulfilling elderhood," she said.

In "Courageous Choices, Elegant Aging," students will explore wisdom from scholars such as Angeles Arrien, Brené Brown, Ken and Mary Gergen and George Valiant.

"Potential discussion topics include living a purpose-filled life, honoring your 'authentic self,' preventing 'psycho-sclerosis' (hardening of the 'attitudes'), healing damaged or broken relationships, maintaining 'generativity' and creating a legacy that will be cherished by future generations," Anthony said.

"As we get into elderhood, Ann’s class helped me to think about the problems of getting older," said former student Larry Brewer. "I looked forward to the two hours every class period."

"Ann mentioned so many appropriate ways that we can increase our happiness," added his wife, Nancy Brewer, particularly citing memorable resources such as TED Talks.

Anthony is a certified life coach with a bachelor's degree in psychology, which emphasized health and healthy behaviors, and a master's degree in organizational learning and instructional technologies, which is based on adult learning and change management principles.

Encore classes are designed for learners 50 and older but open to students 18 and older. "Courageous Choices, Elegant Aging" will meet from 2:30 to 4:50 p.m. on Mondays from Oct. 31 to Dec. 12.

For more information on this and other fall Encore classes, visit sanjuancollege.edu/Encore or call San Juan College’s Community Learning Center at 505-566-3214.

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