First of all, many thanks to North Seattle College Continuing Education Program for dedicating its January 10th blog post on my class, “Midlife to Retirement: A Catalyst for Change.” I’m grateful for the individuals I’ve met through past offerings of this course (which previously had the subtitle, A Path Forward.)
My students' stories and endeavors have enriched and improved the work I do. They came from all walks of life, ages spanning decades; they were employed, retired, transitioning, single, married, partnered, widowed, separating. Some were trying to regain new balance after a major disruption like a health scare or personal loss, and others were simply re-evaluating life after decades of work -- all not uncommon in the second half of life.
However you define the “second half of life,” one seems to know it when you’re there. You’re not a spring chick anymore, life takes on different meanings and responsibilities, somehow you realize the mortal nature of our lives, and grow a sudden awareness of our indefinite time on this planet and consider changes, both tangible and external (e.g., place to live, things to do) and internal (shifts in attitudes, behaviors). New questions arise... Who am I now? What’s most important to me now? What matters?
People rarely like change when it’s imposed on them - people don’t like being told what to do and when to do it; they don’t like being told they have to change, or that change is inevitable.
But like a hardy perennial, people also perpetually want change! They want to be happier, healthier, have more inner peace, want better relationships, more confidence, new activities, renewed hope, or some other thing… and all these things require change.
So if you want change, what have you tried? What has worked for you? Do you believe you’re “too old” to change, or that people don’t change after a certain point? If you believe age itself limits you, you’ve bought into ageism, the thinking that age and various age-related stereotypes and expectations define people. Current scientific research refutes the notion that you're "too old." Take a look, for example, at recent research on Mindsets by Stanford psychologist Carol Dwek. See her TED Talk on The Power of Believing That You Can Improve.
If you want to change, you can be your own change agent at any age.
Thoughts for creating success in the second half of life.