Below this doorway you will find an abundance of information and resources to help you navigate your Third Age.
Finally, people may be able to answer the age-old question "What am I going to do when I grow up?" – with guidance from two authors who visited the Quinnipiac University School of Law Center on Oct. 16.
To make the most of these additional years of life, we must first develop a vision of what the latter third of life will be for us personally. To do this most effectively, we must first get real with ourselves and then with everyone else who has expectations of us including our children, spouses, employers, clergy, doctors, and so on. We have to understand the myths of aging and reject the limitations they put on us so that we can see the possibilities and begin to develop a vision that comes from our heart and soul. The most important thing is that the vision is truly ours and that it truly represents who we are as we have evolved over the years.
This practical self-help book is designed for people like these who want to create a different, better second half of life. Based on 20 years of research tracking innovative individuals, it provides a positive scenario of new opportunities, as well as challenges that emerge at this time of life. Part of an emerging international movement that is redefining aging, Changing Course focuses on the Third Age, a long middle period in the life course made possible by a Longevity Revolution. It shows how people can experience growth, renewal and fulfillment in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.
Elaine had been the director of leadership and organizational effectiveness in a large multinational organization. Even in her early 50’s, she was still steeped in that world and the contribution she felt she was making. Elaine told me how she felt she always had one more project that needed her. Thus, she could never leave, even though at times it felt stifling to her. Then a company assignment in Asia introduced her to other cultures and different people.
major question for individuals, institutions, and societies is: what will we do with these extra years? If we follow the usual decrement model of aging, the extra time could be spent experiencing decline, degeneration, disabilities, debilitation, disease, dependency, deterioration, and decrepitude - the dreadful D words that have defined usual aging up until now. But suppose individuals change course in midlife and insert that bonus into the middle of their lives, rather than saving it until the end. In fact we’re already seeing that begin to happen, with some people experiencing vitality, growth, productivity, and greater satisfaction by delaying advanced aging with personal skills of growth and renewal.
So, what will you do with your Third Age? What are the expectations of your profession for what retirement should look like – and how closely does that match your true interests? Do you feel drawn to Florida ’s sandy beaches and the country club? Or perhaps something else holds greater heart and meaning for you. As your identity shifts from the family and career roles you have held for so many years, who would you like to become? What are the new ways for making a contribution using all of the gifts and talents you have honed over the years? What does the concept of legacy mean to you?
What differentiates Third Age (at least as I see it this year) is that the receding tangible (decline of physical and mental abilities and, especially later, frequent loss of friends) can open us to a new connection with the intangible (god, spirit, integrity, the universal, whatever you like to call him/her/it).
We have received an extraordinary gift of life. What will we do with all the extra years? If we follow the usual pattern of aging, we will spend them in a course marked by D words: decline, degeneration, disease, dependency, disability, and decrepitude. Those are words associated with usual aging. But we have an option to go another route, one defined by R words like renewal, reinvention, rejuvenation, and redirection. Our challenge is not just to extend our lives, but also to increase the quality of our lives in the second half. That is what I have learned from the lives I’ve studied.
An ongoing series exploring the kinds of large-scale changes organizations will have to make to survive the never-before-seen, across-the-board discontinuity that will be caused by the crush of Boomer retirements in the next 5-15 years. Organizations that put in place a comprehensive continuity plan for making these gut-wrenching transformations will survive, even thrive. The rest will rot or die.