Some Things Never Grow Old Video Series: Part 5 - Engage: Creating the Life You Want
I remember someone once telling me that when it comes to your career, your 20’s are all about trying to figure out what you want to be, your 30’s are about trying desperately to become that person or achieve that role, and your 40’s are about settling in and just being who you are.
I have found that so far this seems to be pretty accurate, but I would modify it just a bit based on both personal experience and observation over time. It seems to me that your 40’s are more about wondering if you had the right dream, because you are suddenly mature and experienced enough to think about what really matters to you, and not to the future image of you that you had when you were 20. If you did have the right dream, great, settle in — but if not, you make one last-ditch effort to find it and THEN settle in until retirement, success or not.
“You are really responsible for creating the life you end up with, it’s not going to happen to you.”
But then what? What about our golden years? What do we dream about then? Who do we become? Our work on Connected Aging tells us the striving, growing, and learning doesn’t stop when retirement starts. We may not be punching a clock anymore, but our work is far from done. And these years may actually present us with quite a liberating opportunity.
We spend so much of our lives trying to meet expectations. Expectations from our bosses, families, parents, from society, and of course the expectations we place on ourselves. But as we leave the workforce, our children move away, our parents pass on, and the overall expectations of us are [sadly] lessened, from where do we gather the motivation to act?
Answer: Ourselves. Ugh. Hardest place to find it. But when life gives us the space to think, to dig deep into our hearts and minds in search of meaning, purpose, relevance, and joy, we need to run with it. We need to trust in our own ability to be resilient and adaptive as we have through every other transition in our lives from the very first transition into kindergarten, to college and independence, to parenting or empty-nesting. As we did then, we need to just take a first step toward creating the life we want to live — both right now and as our suns begin to set.<
Can we do this alone? Sure, we are resilient, adaptive, beings. But our research and ideation for this project has shown us that if we work as a team — entrepreneurs, community leaders, businesses, innovators — we can imagine a future where we all foster and embrace our own, and each others’ ability to flourish at any age. We can reimagine how we create, deliver, and capture value for our aging populations.
And as I mentioned in my very first post on this work, the people to do this may just be the newest aging cohort themselves. The Boomer generation has settled for nothing less than creating the lives they want to live at every life stage to date. Don’t stop now, Boomers! The world is counting on your ingenuity, your persistence, and your sheer force in numbers to create fertile ground for testing and experimenting with exciting new business models for connected aging in our communities, our healthcare system, entertainment, travel, and more.
And do it fast. This Gen-Xer is right behind you!