Age as Adventure: Restorying Later Life


  • William L. Randall St. Thomas University


aging, lifespan development, adventure, narrative, gerontology, restorying


For many people, aging is perceived and experienced in implicitly tragic terms: as a narrative of decline, as little more than a downward trajectory toward decrepitude and death.  Such a way of storying later life can set us up for (among other things) narrative foreclosure, which can fuel the mild-to-moderate depression to which older adults are susceptible in the face of aging’s many challenges.  Insofar as our experience of aging is inseparable from our story of aging, this paper argues for an alternative narrative of later life.  Drawing on concepts from narrative gerontology and narrative psychology, it outlines how later life can be re-genre-ated from tragedy to adventure in at least four inter-related directions:  Outward, Inward, Backward, and Forward.

Author Biography

William L. Randall, St. Thomas University

William L. Randall, EdD, is a retired professor of gerontology at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada, where he has regularly taught courses on Adult Development and Aging, Aging and Health, Counselling Older Adults, and Narrative Gerontology.  A Protestant minister prior to becoming an academic, his ongoing interests include aging and spirituality, narrative resilience in later life, and narrative care with older adults.  He is founding co-editor of the online journal Narrative Works, principal organizer of three international Narrative Matters conferences, and author or co-author of over 60 scholarly publications, including eight books.  Among these are: Restorying Our Lives, Ordinary Wisdom, and The  Stories We Are, plus Reading Our Live: The Poetics of Growing Old and The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary Life, both with Oxford University Press.


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How to Cite

Randall, W. L. (2023). Age as Adventure: Restorying Later Life. Narrative Works, 11, 73–86. Retrieved from