Someone recently asked me, “If you’re really into ‘this stuff,’ why don’t you offer financial planning for retirement, offer topics on navigating healthcare, medicare, and all that?”
First, I’m not sure what he meant by “this stuff” but my guess is that he meant aging, getting older, working with “older people,” and the whole spiral down to end of life planning. Like many others, he may think that those things -- the traditional concerns about planning for retirement (financial, legal, health care, etc.) -- constitute the central, if not the essential, components of planning for the future.
Those are critical and necessary elements, and thankfully, there are plenty of experts on those topics. (Need a place to start? Visit NextAvenue.org online. You’ll find a host of ideas, resources, and information on a range of topics.)
I’m talking about how to craft the life you want to live, with all that is important to you. You can live more consciously and mindfully, so that you can feel more fulfilled and happier, whatever your situation. How you think shapes how you plan.
Whether you continue to work or are seeking a new job, or finding yourself in transition of some sort, you can be both practical and creative, reasonable and daring. Most of all, you can allow yourself the full benefit of thinking broadly at this stage; yes, at this point in your life. It can allow you to become more integrated, more whole, and more interesting as you grow older.
And that’s where we come back to this “aging” stuff. How do you feel about aging? How does it shape what you do, how you feel and think?
There is power in accepting our own aging. It’s from this acceptance - and perhaps its welcomed embrace - that we have access to the gifts and opportunities that each new phase of life has to offer. It’s not just about living longer, but living longer provides us with opportunities to grow and develop into a more whole, strong, (and hopefully, wiser and kinder) person.
Need a little boost to accept aging? Check out Ashton Applewhite’s “This Chair Rocks. She’s the 2016 Influencer in Aging who fights against ageism in our society and in ourselves. Read Barbara Bradley Hagerty’s “Life Reimagined” for her story on finding at midlife a unique opportunity to reinvent herself and her life. Locally, I recently discovered 3rd Act Magazine, an online and print publication that offers refreshing views on “aging with confidence” (their tag line).
When I talk about midlife and beyond, I’m talking about continued development of ourselves so that we can undertake new challenges and opportunities that life presents to us at each stage of our lives, so that we can be happier, healthier, more conscious and intentional about how we live our lives. While it’s true that there are inevitable challenges as we get older, we also have a unique opportunity to take stock of our lives and re-chart a course or grow new wings.
It’s said, “Aging isn’t for sissies.” That’s so true.
Midlife isn’t a cakewalk either. But it can be fun and open doors for new opportunities and ways of being.
My mother used to say, “old is 10 years older than our current age.” Maybe true, but don’t wait until you’re “old” to accept it -- we’re all getting older. Just start now to embrace it and live your life.
For those interested: Register now for my course, "Midlife Through Retirement: A Catalyst for Change." Class runs Feb. 21 through March 27, on Tuesday nights from 6:30-8:30pm. (No class meeting on March 7.) See North Seattle Continuing Education blog post for more information. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Thoughts for creating success in the second half of life.