Despite graduate degrees in human behavior and many successful crossings onto new life stages (I even pre-planned a very successful mid-life crisis for myself in my mid-forties), everything about “retirement”– the word we most use for a pivot time in life at 65 – didn’t fit me.

If there was a yellow brick road to happiness and joy, I wanted to be on it. But where was that road and who was I going to be now?

It shouldn’t have been so hard, but it was. I became a consummate learner of the current literature on aging, retirement, un-retirement, productive longevity, wellbeing and happiness.

Discovering that work identity is an extraordinarily strong component of who we are and that productivity equals better health according to the latest research on longevity and wellbeing was a watershed.

Working until 85 – not 65 – is the “new retirement” for me and millions of others.  Volunteering, traveling just to travel, and not earning money – it doesn’t work for me and it doesn’t work for millions of others.

Together, we can be voices of new ways of living in the second half of life. All of my findings, research, interviews, tools, how to overcome the challenges plus new ideas about how to invent a post-midlife lifestyle of work and freedom that works for you are on TheInventiveLifePost50.com.

My previous career paths have all been about teaching and facilitating change in others.

My first company, Executive Pathways, focused on excellence in leadership and performance. Having coached over 3500 executives to higher levels of success, the speaking platform wooed me to share that information with large audiences – immensely enjoyable and sometimes daunting! You better have something smart to say to a group of successful CEOs and entrepreneurs or they will beat you with invisible sticks for wasting their time!

Keynotes became even more exciting and profitable when my daughter joined me on the platformTransparency Edge Cover following the launch of the groundbreaking book we co-authored, THE TRANSPARENCY EDGE: How Credibility Can Make or Break You in Business, (McGraw-Hill, 2004) chosen by Fast Company magazine as a “Book of the Month.” The book has been among Bookscan’s list of 50 best-selling new business books in America and hit #7 on Barnes and Noble’s list of bestselling business ethics books.

Barbara and Elizabeth on board Revival three days before departure for six months.
Barbara and Elizabeth on board Revival three days before departure for six months.

The second start-up launched once again with that award winning- journalist-daughter of mine, Elizabeth Pagano McGuire, but only after we set out on our own six-month sailing adventure during which we sailed alone for 2000 miles on a 43-foot sailboat named “Revival.” Pushing a little boat through the water is hard work especially for two inexperienced sailors. Low on skills but high on desire we did it by learning new stuff everyday – a situation that fuels creativity and confidence.

Fierce advocates for the sabbatical movement, we started yourSABBATICAL.com, a research and strategy firm with tools and resources for assessing the value of existing or new sabbatical programs as well as knowledge of current trends and best practices in sabbatical initiatives. yourSABBATICAL is a 2009 winner of the Moving into the Future Award present by the Conference Board.

Now, this new initiative – TheInventiveLifePost50.com – illuminates the tools, resources and conversations important for success in mid-life and beyond with the core message of “work long, live well.” I didn’t go far afield after all in choosing this new career even though the lure of continuing what I’d already done competed with zany ideas like jewelry making – neither truly excited me.

And yes, those three university degrees (I’m a Baby Boomer! We felt the need for degrees!) still serve as a firm foundation of the knowledge of human behavior, content development, synthesizing information and getting it out to the mainstream.

While I devoted the requisite 70 hours a week to the previous entrepreneurial endeavors, today’s life and work is different. What I learned navigating this difficult transition is how to create a lifestyle of career – yes – but in concert with high priority desires. That’s why you’ll see the tab soon, “Solo Immersions in Other Countries.”  I don’t want to just have a career; I don’t just want to travel; I want to go somewhere to do my work and live for 3 months at a time. In three years, I’ve done that in Nicaragua, Quito, Ecuador and in 2014, Ecuador again this time in the colonial city of Cuenca. And, yes, I’m on a budget.

A late-in-life cyclist, my odometer clocks over 5000 miles making me proud and the wearer of cool pre-owned bike outfits I find on eBay.  But nothing holds joy quite as much when my handsome two-year-old grandson, Liam, shouts, “G” (short for G-Babe) and rushes across the room into my arms.

I live on Santa Rosa Sound in Pensacola, Florida with my second husband of over thirty years who is retired from Delta after 32 years of flying and is the poster child for traditional “retirement.” He proves to me that it does work for some.

But not for me and possibly, not for you.

Welcome to my blog.

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