Oh, You're Retiring!
When I decided to step down from a position that I had thoroughly enjoyed and through which much was accomplished, I encountered a puzzling experience. As I shared this decision, I was met with a well-intended “Oh, you’re retiring!” Being in my 50s, I was shocked! Not only may I live, literally, another 50 years, nothing could be further from the truth! The transition was my opportunity to earnestly reinvent myself.
Our Choices Affect How We Age
As a specialist in ‘successful aging,’ this experience reminded me of the work we all can do to embrace our new ‘growing older’ life stages. First, is to throw ageist views and anti-aging sentiments into the recycling bin (not landfill, of course)! A 10-year landmark study by the MacArthur Foundation, demonstrated that over 70% of physical aging and 50% of mental aging is determined by the lifestyle choices we make every day. Middle living is now defined as 45 – 70 years of age.
The Golden Years, Redefined
So, dear readers, it is time to take stock of our life portfolios that include our finances, interests, wellness and skills with which we can create. To point, entrepreneurship is fastest growing in the 50+ crowd. Further, Forbes magazine has deemed, ‘A Golden Age for Women Entrepreneurs has begun.’ Who knew? We do! The best is yet to be, and now is the time to plan to get there.
Arm yourself for a long-life journey with these five tips and trends:
- Speak to your financial planner about longer life expectancies. The number of individuals living past 100 has increased 43% in the past decade. How have you prepared for longevity?
- Understand that housing alternatives are rapidly expanding including the resurgence of co-op housing and home share, tiny homes, the Village movement and deliberate interest-based housing (artists for instance, supporting themselves).
- Lifelong learning is alive and well. Four colleges and universities in West Michigan offer courses for older adults.
- Wellness opportunities and chronic disease management education abound for older adults, whether in the community or online. Mild exercise is worth it and influences your quality of life even if it is first undertaken in your mid-80s!
- Volunteers are a community asset. Many positions teach workforce ready skills such as tax preparation, caregiving, office support and more. Just because there is no pay, does not mean it doesn’t build a resume!
Forget the old ways of thinking (no pun intended). Let’s celebrate new opportunities. Together. Growing older is just about that – growing! More so, it is PRECISELY about your choices that frame your journey.
Brigit Hassig, President