How to Design a Post50 Life That Matters : New, Inventive Approach Solves Problem

Judi Dench on Retire

It seems Judi Dench bristles at the thought of slowing down.

Obviously Dench tells herself something about the future that’s very different from the  conventional narrative of classic retirement.

Dame Judi Dench, renown Oscar-winning film and stage actor.
Dame Judi Dench, renown Oscar-winning film and stage actor.

Hurrah for her, as well as a growing number of individuals who are not going to be defined by an outdated message of “slow down, your work is done and do get out of the way for the young.”

Classic retirement, lacking a factual basis and appropriateness, is in extreme flux and individuals no longer see this as a solid truth to define behavior.

According to USA Today, the latest buzzwords for Baby Boomers are “reinvent,” “reimagine,” “encore” – anything that suggests a second chance or a new chapter.

Late midlife is now an event to clarify and invent all that is possible to follow us into our late 80s.

Retirement as an end-of-life event is being replaced with a newer plot reveling in a finale of vibrancy.

As we shift to absorb, understand and replace the entire affair, endless careers within full pulsating lives will be unexceptional and quotes like Dame Dench’s unworthy of media attention.

But if you thought just a new encore career was going to get you to a life that matters. Well, you’d be wrong.

Confusing Territory Needs a Map: Got One?

How do you imagine living life after 60?  How do you imagine growing old?

Our social narratives about aging – what we tell ourselves and others – have an impact on how we act and think.

But in the midst of demanding careers and efforts to spur lives into meaning, efforts to find time to attend to these thoughts give us the slip. Plus what we’re led to believe is confusing and often misleading, as those who now re-think the path of retirement they chose will tell you.

No one can blame us.

While there seems to be no end to good ideas and positive approaches to sorting out a meaningful second half of life, they’re lacking in a creative or new approach.

Honestly, I am baffled (and annoyed) over constant rhetoric that a full, happy life demands you must “discover your passion, align your values, live with purpose, give to the greater good, find meaning, make the world a better place, nourish your spirit and uncover something to live for.”

Don’t get me wrong. These are good things but far too ill defined to begin to imagine what a real life for me could be at 75 or 85.

Along with the clichés, we are challenged in our last part of life to use our new-found freedom to be “the person that you have always wanted to be.” But that is perplexing when you may not know any longer who it is that you exactly want to be.

So might this mean late stage therapy to figure that out? (That’s a no.)

Contemplating “the person you have always wanted to be” along with “what you should be doing with new-found freedom” seems so utterly bewildering we pretend we’ll figure it all out when we get there.  (Not a terrible idea, but not the smartest.)

You might think smart, accomplished leaders are making a successful transition and carving out pathways effortlessly, but they’re not.

The Stanford Distinguished Career Institute is a dynamic new program for established leaders who seek to transform themselves and create an enriching professional and personal life for the future. The inaugural program – an opportunity for 20 Fellows to engage in personal reflection and intellectual exploration in the company of peers- begins on January 5, 2015.

Philip A. Pizzo, MD, Founding Director, Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute
Philip A. Pizzo, MD, Founding Director, Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute

Unique structure is part of this ground-breaking program:

  • Weekly discussion seminars
  • Life journeying and transition counseling
  • Think Tanks
  • Ability to audit Stanford classes and programs offered by nearby Silicon Valley Companies
  • Opportunity to use transition placement services
  • And, one of the most touted inclusions,  the comprehensive health assessment

“Your most important opportunities and fulfillment in life could still be ahead of you. Join us to create something unique that can impact you and the world,” states Philip A. Pizzo, Founding Director.

The submission deadline is Aug. 1, 2014; Stanford will interview applicants and ask for references. Its team will notify by the selected Fellows by Sept. 1.

You won’t need to take any SATS or ACTs to learn to map your future, but you will need $60,000 making it far reaching for many.

Interior Courtyard, Museo de Arte Moderno, Cuenca, Ecuador
Interior Courtyard, Museo de Arte Moderno, Cuenca, Ecuador

Where Does This Leave The Rest of Us?

It all boils down to this.

Every new stage of life deserves a map – a simple one that we can understand and not have to tune into a webinar for further instructions or spend a fortune to juice our creativity.

In next week’s post, you’ll discover a new way to think about the last thirty years of life.

Four Essential Elements of Post50 Lifestyle provides a simple, straightforward way to understand what is necessary for living a full, vibrant life well into your 80s and beyond.

I’ll outline the model and include guiding questions for each of the four elements.

This inventive, practical approach, grounded in longevity research, aging, best practices of life design, studies in happiness and well-being, and emerging trends, solves a problem:

When ask, “How do you imagine living life at 60?”

You will never again have to say, “I hardly know where to begin.”




Quote from Dench: Thanks to Dee Dee Kinkade who ripped up her More Magazine to send me a great lead for this post.

Museo d’Arte, Cuenca: B. Pagano

About Barbara Pagano

Barbara Pagano,Ed.S., 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.
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