Bruce Frankel is a seasoned journalist with USA Today and People magazine, New York Times best-selling author, and poet. His new book What Should I do with the Rest of My Life?features twelve intimate, inspiring stories of second-half success (post age 60), celebrating people who refused to let illness, stereotypes, and assumptions about aging stop them from realizing their dreams of becoming, among other things, an artist, athlete, activist, inventor, entrepreneur, dancer, teacher, filmmaker, psychologist, writer, and the nation’s oldest park ranger. They all created their paths by walking on it.
On the Lookout: Baby Boomer Trends (Part 1): The baby boom generation has broken the mold at every stage. And experts have been predicting that the 78 million people born between 1946 to 1964 will again, through sheer force of numbers, remake life in the US as they age. Trends include: a) Credit card debt eroding a future leisurely, happy-go-lucky retirement, b) boomers are very adaptable, and downsizing early to live with less and shake consumerism, c) they are starting companies, on average more successful than younger entrepreneurs, and d) companies and non-profits are enacting new policies to attract and retain encore career builders.
Sign Up NOW to Support the Caregiver Corps!: Of all the issues of the day that people are focused on, none comes remotely close to the consequences of the insufficient numbers of quality caregivers for seniors -- on individual, family, community, national and worldwide levels. Janice Lynch Schuster is calling for White House attention to support creation of a Caregiver Corps, along the model of the Peace Corps, attracting young job seekers or those in the encore phase of their careers to serve. It is time for our society to deal with a complex problem for which there will never be enough money. Google Caregiver Corps and sign the petition!
The Poetry of Aging and the Aging of Poetry: Poetry is emotion recollected in tranquility, having healing powers to help people through difficult times to survive trauma, as well as benefit the brain by bringing structure to chaos, mitigating stress by helping us reorganize our world. Poetry can be a harbor for caregivers of the elderly to see that they are not alone and even discern a path for our hearts that might otherwise be blocked. Poetry about aging and all human experience can express both fierce determination to continue in the face of loss and the death of a loved one with a tenderness toward existence. It gives us the grace of the language of the heart.
Embracing the Daunting Questions in Life without Fear: “Pre-existing conditions” are the primary reason paralysis sets in when we are trying to change, holding us back from taking the next step. These external forces are often the things we commonly use to internally argue ourselves out of possibilities. Whether it is to go back to work after having raised a family, or taking a first job, or starting a business, focus on small steps and the journey, plus assess each potential downside of taking an action. Quite often we can live with the small sidesteps or setbacks, and even better never experience them in the first place. Cut fear down to size.
Workforce Longevity as an Economic Engine: SURPRISE! Recent research by the Brookings Institute and funded by the Social Security Administration shows that older workers between ages 60-75 are more productive, in demand and better paid than those age 25 to 59 in similar roles. A key contributor is how over the past 25 years, educational credentials have improves, both absolutely in numbers and in comparison to younger work groups. And guess what? Studies are also showing that retirement (in the classic passive sense) actually shortens life span in absence of becoming not just health and exercise minded, but engaged in other intellectual and social endeavors.
Volunteering – Giving Back to Move Forward: To those who do not know what to do or are frustrated as they seek work with no callbacks for job interviews, the best advice is simple: Get up, get out, and do something for someone else. Doing good makes us feel good, plus reduces stress, boosts confidence, engages us in new ways (brain cell growth for self-esteem!), helps acquire new skills, and connects us with new networks = new possibilities. To those who take up the call, a blank page will open to write a new life story.
Copyright The Larsen Group: Architects of Change 2008