After you retire, you sometimes lose your way. People who are working fulltime, and especially those who are also caring for dependent family members, don’t have this luxurious problem. But if you’re lucky enough to have a lot of free time, you sometimes feel guilty, as if you’re wasting your days. [Read more…]
Whether you lost your job in midlife or feel the need to change/reinvent yourself for more benign reasons, it helps to see what other people our age are doing. In this article, a half-dozen older workers describe how they picked themselves up off the floor and created new work lives. I felt inspired by their stories. Maybe you will, too.
Sometimes success takes a while. Author Charlotte Rogan got her first book contract at the age of 57, but she’s a baby. My friend Joanne Hardy is from the generation ahead of Charlotte’s, and Joanne just published her magnum opus, The Girl in the Butternut Dress.
I asked Joanne how she learned to write so well. She described persevering, and said:
The best class I ever took was Robert McKee’s three day seminar called “Story.” It is so dense and so thorough…I have taken it three times. He is just fantastic. When you go there you will see a block of seats reserved for well-known media groups, like Disney; they send their writers to him…I thought it well worth it. I came home and restructured my novel.
Not all of us are climbing career ladders. Some are struggling to figure out who and what we are at this stage, which can be intriguing in itself. My friend Ellen Cole created a blog, 70Candles, where women share their thoughts about aging mindfully. My own reinvention took the form of letting go of my corporate identity, and refusing to be judged for shedding my power suit. I decided I was good enough as a person, without the trappings of career to prove my worth to the world. One of my proudest accomplishments at this point in my life is providing day care for my grandbabies. It’s a big shift for a gal who never got to be a stay-at-home mom, but I think I’m at a point in my maturity where I can appreciate it better than if I were younger. Except for my aching back.
Yes, we’re getting older, but there are definitely some great benefits.
More Magazine surveyed 1200 women age sixty and up, asking them to rate their lives. What were they happy about? What did they regret? What have they learned about finding their true paths? Here are the high points:
- The Betty White Boost: A distinct spike in confidence occurred at the uppermost end of the respondents’ age group. Quite simply, the older the women were, the more likely they were to give themselves high marks for life decisions. Women age 80-plus were the most likely to feel satisfied with their life choices. (Although More only surveyed women, this phenomenon has been documented in men, too.)
- Know Your True Path: A majority of respondents said they found their true path in life after age forty.
- Cool with Not Being Superwoman: a majority said having it all is a crock. Do what you can and pat yourself on the back, and that it’s okay to ask for help or to say NO.
I’m curious about you. Are you starting over in any way, with work or family or personal truths? If so, what did you change, and is it working? Are you feeling stronger or are you drifting? Do you have any bits of advice for us? I’d love for you to share your thoughts if you’re so inclined. (And now the baby is waking from his nap so I have to run!)
Like most of you, I’m from that awkward generation between people who grew up without computers and those whose thumbs are changing shape due to texting. [Read more…]
This is the last of four posts about all the cool things going on in your aging brain. [Read more…]
I was so excited I almost embarrassed myself in the theater, quoting enthusiastically along with M (Judi Dench).
We went to watch Skyfall on Christmas Day, and toward the end of the movie, when M is staring down a parliamentary inquiry committee, she quotes the same passages from Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson as I have in the dedication of my book, Dakota Blues. I was thrilled! I found this poetry when I was in high school, and for some reason, it stuck with me. (I was weird even back then.)
Here it is, the end of the great Ulysses:
“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
I didn’t expect Skyfall to have as a subtext the question of “Am I too old? Am I unable, due to my age?” Both Bond and M grapple with this debilitating question, and they answer it in spectacular fashion. How empowering for those of us who watch for evidence of the courage, wisdom, strength and determination that come with age.
My regular column will appear on Friday, and will be the last of the four in which I share reasons to celebrate your amazing, aging brain! See you in a couple days.
This is the third of four posts celebrating the good news about the way the brain ages. [Read more…]