The following is from Joe Hillis's 1991 doctoral thesis in Lifestyles entitled,
Gift of Time:
Experiencing Life as an Ever-Opening Vista Through Dismantling Prejudices About Age and Training to Aggress on Pleasure
In 1990, my wife, Dica, and I were living together at Lafayette Morehouse. Since our separate introductions to Dr. Victor Baranco years before, the quality of our lives had continually improved. We had met, become friends, married, and used Dr. Baranco's information and the resources of the Lafayette community to achieve major goals, including great sex, teaching for the Sensuality Department, having warm and loving friends, and a busy and satisfying life in the group.
We knew that life had been and was good. However, we felt that we would soon begin an inevitable decline as we aged. At this time, I was 58 and Dica, 54. We were among the oldest in the community and consequently some of the first to really confront the apparent losses that often accompany age, the lessening of mobility, of vision, of stamina, of health. We were not bitter about the onset of age, but we did believe that it would mean less of everything. Being involved in Morehouse, our lives had been about continually having more. Now, for the first time, we were facing less.
At that time, we were invited by Vic and Cindy Baranco to work with them and others on a new course called the Gift of Time, a course in which the central idea would be that time could be a gift, all the way to old age and death. Dr. Baranco, who was himself 55, was developing the material in the course from his own inquiry into the issues involved in aging. He knew that our society holds life to be a kind of diamond shape. It starts with a point which is birth and the beginning of experience. It opens wider and wider as a person's life gets richer and more filled with experience; in middle age, it starts closing down, becoming less and less until it reaches a point again, the point of death.
Dr. Baranco had a theory that life could continue opening up and that this gift of time be enjoyed more and more fully right up until death. In our work with Dr. Baranco, Dica and I were surprised at how completely we had accepted without question the prejudices around age, despite the fact that our lives in the sexually open, racially integrated Morehouse community had run counter to and had disproved many prevailing biases. In interacting with the Gift of Time material, we saw that we can keep having one enriching experience on top of another.
The Gift of Time course is an exploration of the prejudice of age and the ideas and evidence that can be used to dismantle that preconceived judgment and allow us an ever opening vista, as opposed to the closing down of life.