The purpose of a Post50 odyssey is to discover what the next stage of our life will hold – to find out what’s ahead. The journey is a series of experiences that gives us knowledge and understanding.
At the threshold of finding ‘future work’ for the last third of life, expect to feel dizzy.
Should I continue my current profession? (Career success or ‘loving our work’ often makes this seem a good idea when it’s not.)
Should I begin to learn skills for a different industry?
Do I have time to build a new career?
Why not be content with past career success and become a volunteer?
With longevity available, most of us are set to do some kind of ‘work’ through our 70s and 80s.
Spike Lee said, “As an artist you have to want longevity because longevity allows you to do your work.”
To label myself an ‘artist’ always seemed inappropriate and far-fetched. Maybe you’ve felt this way.
I don’t paint or sculpt. I don’t ballet or write songs. Actually I require professional help just choosing fabric for throw pillows.
But as I ended my transition, I changed my mind. I am an artist.
No higher artistic expression exists than creating a life.
I own my first fifty years and dare myself to crave more and more from my time left. I marvel at my stops and starts, successes and failures, good fortune and bad luck. I am an illustrator and designer who collects stories of my past merging them into a collage of pictures of a future – my future.
I create a life – mine.
It’s the same for all of us. The craft and design of your Post50 life – where a new working identity is vital – is your ‘art.’
Marvelous and a bit heady, isn’t it, to be an artist? We could do wild things with our lives.
Let’s temper that for now.
A carefree focus on ‘art’ can impoverish future wellbeing. And in my mind, the phrase ‘starving artist’ has no charm. Continue reading →
Retirement isn’t being retired. It’s already retired. You know that by now, right?
The old idea of “retirement”—a word that means withdrawal, describing a time when people gave up productive employment and shrank their activities—was a short-lived historical abnormality lasting approximately 70 years.
In 1935 a kind of pragmatic judgment using the favorable actuarial age of 65 became the basis on which this age was used for retirement under Social Security.
Poised to live longer in better health than ever before individuals are extending their working lives, often with new careers, phased retirement, entrepreneurial ventures, and volunteer service.
‘Un’ is a prefix freely used in English to form verbs expressing a reversal of some action or state. Unleash this negative force and we have wonderful words such as undressed, unbeloved, unforgettable and undone.
Today, we’ve uncorked the word ‘unretirement’ to explain this seismic change now in its early stages. (The word,’unretirement,’ first used in 1966, is now thriving.)
The ‘unretirement’ you’ll choose is not life as you know it.
You can look forward to a newfound sense of freedom- a freedom that’s been missing from your getting-educated-child-raising-finding-time-for-sex-career-consuming life.
Many smart people squander and misuse this parcel of time – often decades of it. Some people volunteer it away.
Welcome back to Part 2/5 on crafting a remarkable Post50 Life. The second of this series is about the Geography of Place, the first of the Four Elements of Post50 Lifestyle.
“You can take me anywhere you want to take me. But get me out of Atlanta.”
I can’t recall a time my amenable husband, Herb, dug in so much. But he was adamant that after his retirement – an end to a 34-year career as a Delta pilot based in Atlanta – we would live in a different place.
Turns out our move to the Gulf Coast still contributes a ‘wow’ to our Post50 lifestyle. But finding our geography of place wasn’t easy and Herb’s lead time of ten years was a boon since the scouting and winnowing of places took a whopping 71/2.
Was Atlanta a bad place for us? Definitely not.
But are we truly happier where we live now than if we had stayed? Unquestionably, yes.
After two decades of childhood and three of decades of adulthood you’d think we’d have it all figured out. We’ve adjusted, re-adjusted, modified, adapted and tweaked ourselves from infancy to adolescence through young adulthood past the age of innocence only to smack right into midlife.
Managing life transitions? We got it down.
Unfortunately that kind of confidence and bravado can get you into trouble.
Ahead lies a transition never before awarded a generation or attempted. With a bonus of thirty plus years of living after the age of 65, we are privileged to create a new life cycle.
Have you had a happening or two since your mid-thirties that got you where you are now? Any big damn event helped shape you in your 40s or 50s? (Marriage? A baby? Divorce? Love? Heartbreak? Lottery? Career setback? Dad died?)
No one decade defines us.
With high expectations and time not on our side, we should aim to make this upcoming demarcation – from mid-life to late adulthood- one of unparalleled significance.
Other defining moments of your life slipped up on you to catch you unaware or unprepared. Still, you made it through with time enough to savor or recover.
This one’s different.
You will either use this one to create the life you want to live until it’s over – literally game over.
Art Sherman talks with his hands as if holding the reins, a distinctive trait left over from his first career as a jockey.
Riding for over 21 years he rode his share of winners, but rarely the big horses in the big races. He’d occasionally supplement his income playing “race-horse rummy,” a card game that was popular in the jockey’s room between races, for 25 cents a point.
California Chrome won by 1 ¾ lengths fostering hysteria for The Preakness Stakes, the second race for the Triple Crown. On another gorgeous Saturday afternoon last weekend, Sherman’s horse won again in a magnificent race.
Kentuckians, far removed in time and space like me, watch the Derby the first Saturday in May without exception. Sure we choke up as we sing ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ because at that moment memories flood our hearts, but when a horse like this comes along we can turn giddy.
California Chrome now has a shot at Triple Crown greatness, but you have no soul if you don’t root for Art Sherman too. His story is an advanced class on finding what you love to do and day-after-day-after-day turning it into an endless career.
This unassuming man is the oldest trainer to have won the Derby. “I never made it with the big, big horses…but I’m thankful for my career,” Art said. Continue reading →
Catastrophe and misfortune meet you along the way and the results are sorrow, despair, grief, pain and misery.
No one escapes. No one.
This isn’t about the disappointment you might experience when your sports team loses or Cosco has run out of your favorite gummy fish.
This is about bitter disappointment.
The kind of heartbreak that must have been experienced last month when hundreds of climbers found out they weren’t going to be able to test their skills to reach the top of Mt. Everest.
The tragic loss of 16 Sherpas in an avalanche on April 18th was the worst single event in Everest history. The climbing community mourned the deaths then were caught in the tangled web on the sidelines between Sherpas and their government.
When the mountain ‘functionally’ closed, not only had lives been lost but dreams shattered. Continue reading →
While the word pilgrimage may sound mysterious, it is not. Whatever our longing, path or destination, we are all journeying and have been throughout our lives.
All men and women are travelers though often we might be confused wanderers. I think you know what I mean – on the path, off the path, screw the path.
Maybe you don’t think of yourself as a pilgrim but many scholars do. They declare that life is a pilgrimage and the human soul is a pilgrim.
I believe in pilgrimage as a powerful metaphor for any passage with the purpose of finding something that matters deeply to the traveler. The pilgrimage can be an inward journey as transformative and sacred as the revered walk thousands undertake each year on Camino de Santiago.
I wanted to be inspired, learn new things and broaden my perspectives.
His seventh volume of poetry, Pilgrim, is hailed as some of his best work. Whyte defines a pilgrim as someone, like you and me, passing through our lives relatively quickly but dependent on friendship, hospitality and help from friends and strangers alike.
Someone for whom the nature of the destination changes step by step as it approaches, and someone who is subject to the vagaries of wind and weather along the way.
How well people fare as they age is not just genetics or good luck. It is affected by education, energy, social networking and planning.
What’s your plan?
One of the great motivators for starting a new career in my sixties and getting my act together was the powerful understanding of my mortality.
Yes, I understood that growing old today is embarking on a new frontier and living longer is possible, but what did that mean for me personally?
Discovering my estimated life expectancy (96.18) stacked favorably against the average for women in the US today (82.2) was sheer infatuation. Rather than a mere 22 years, I had the possibility of 36 more years.
I thought of myself at 30 trying to imagine life stretched ahead until I turned 66. It was impossible then to grasp all that life could hold for me just as it is now.
But as a new horizon of ‘what could be’ began to appear in front of me, I got excited. I still am.
Not everyone is so positive about living long.
In the advent of advancing years, some are defiant about how many more they want to take on. Oh, but I don’t want to live until I’m ninety-something. Maybe you’re saying this.
What if we could not only add years but spend them being physically fit, mentally sharp, and functionally independent and financially secure. Do you want those years then?
This post is not about old age. This is about a long life.
I understand it can be uncomfortable thinking about surrendering your lifelines. Most of us ignore thoughts about the timing of our demise or act as if we have an infinite number of days.
But I promise you’ll be a lot smarter and motivated to design a fantastic third act if you’ll create a space in your mind for a conversation regarding your earthly finish line.
Barbara Pagano, author and speaker, influenced over 3,500 executives in organizations to achieve higher performance. She
is now on a mission to help individuals extend their career arcs
and craft lifestyles of productive longevity.
Life is a story with a beginning and an end. An inventive life post50 begins with your truth about what you want. Best friends forever often