Jane Pauley, Thank You For Making My Day As I Imagine the Rest of My Life
It seems I am in good company as I search for how to Stay Relevant as we age. As I delve deeper into this subject, I find that lots of Boomers are questioning how to keep life meaningful and productive.
Looking forward to retirement as a snooze fest is so yesterday. Most of our peers have begun to talk about retirement as the next adventure, not in terms of slowing down.
I just finished reading Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life by Jane Pauley. It’s full of inspirational stories about Boomers who, instead of settling in, got out there and shook things up. These individuals made an impact in the world after, in some cases long after, they left their professional lives.
Is there anyone who doesn’t want to remain relevant and leave a mark on the world? But how? What does staying relevant look like as retirement looms? What are the options?
Jane Pauley’s book provided some interesting ideas by relating stories of Boomers who are staying relevant, and having the time of their lives. How cool is this…finding your way and even greater satisfaction, after your 5th decade? I found the stories both motivating and inspirational. We all need more of that, especially when we start to wake up with creaky joints.
Consider the story of Gid Pool. Gid spent his working life as a jack-of-all-trades, never developing a clear career path, yet in his 60s discovered stand-up comedy. He now cracks up audiences with his shtick as a “grumpy old man.” His whole life and attitude has changed. For the first time he is truly passionate about his work, studying, practicing, and perfecting this difficult craft. And now, as a successful comedian, he is happier than ever.
Or how about Jerry Leener? He spent most of his life behind a desk, eventually becoming a partner in a successful accounting firm, and at 55 took a buyout to do something different. He left because he knew there was something better out there calling to him. It was just a matter of finding it. He found it by talking to a fireman who was outside his house flushing the hydrants. Jerry researched and explored this profession, and before long took the training and became an EMT. At 65, this physically demanding job is keeping him fit but he knows he can’t do it forever. He figures around 70 he will search out his “third act.”
Another source of inspiration is a section on the AARP website (www.aarp.org) entitled Your Life Calling. It recounts the experience of Trudy Lundgren, a graphic designer from NYC. After 9/11 she decided to make a radical change in her life. She left the city, and along with her partner, bought and set up housekeeping in an RV. They roamed the US in their traveling home, having great adventures and taking odd jobs to make ends meet. When reality set in and bills mounted, they created a business designing brochures for RV campgrounds. Their story is the most popular on Your Life Calling.
Some of the nuggets of advice that emerged from these “reinventors.”
Listen to that small, quiet voice.
Reinvention happens when you realize nothing is going to happen unless you make it happen
It makes me feel alive to do this work
We all have threads of the things we’ve done. I’ve taken those threads and I’ve woven them into a new tapestry.
We weren’t running away from anything. We were running toward something. We wanted a new adventure.
What are you planning for your next chapter? Please share