Making a Difference At All Ages

Jan 13, 2014 by

multiage group

In an August article in USA Today titled, “5 must do’s as age wave bears down on USA,” author Sharon Jayson describes what is happening with living longer lives…

Because of increased longevity, many older workers will be able to stay on the job longer, work part-time or volunteer, experts say. They may have as many as 20 to 25 years after the typical retirement age — too long to lie around on the couch.

“People in their 60s now, that grew up in the ’60s, are much more politically active, much more savvy and will continue to participate. We need to look at age not only as receiving but providing new roles and role models for participating,” Barrios-Paoli says.

“Too much leisure time leads to lack of purpose,” says Graham McDougall, 63, a professor of nursing at the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa.

Longer lifespans mean that many adults 60 and older will be caring for parents in their 80s, 90s and beyond. Census projections suggest the number of Americans 85 and older will more than triple, from 5.9 million in 2012 to 18.2 million by 2060.

What will we do with the time we have? I have often said I will write a book or at least a chapter in one of our books will be titled, “Late bloomers are people too.”

No matter what age, we can make a difference. No matter how young or old, we can still be an influence. People have made a difference both young and old. There are many stories of people making an impact when most people are calling it good and feel like they are just cruising through the remainder of life. As we live longer, we have more quality of life to make an impact long after we may be done with a “career.” I love the statement from the article above, “…too long to lie around on the couch.” And, “Too much leisure time leads to a lack of purpose.”multiage group2

We have spoken to those who have reached retirement and they are saying, “Now what?” They may not be doing what they have done for the last 40 years, but they still want to have purpose. We are living not only longer, but healthier to make a difference. We have not only life, but a high quality of life. We do not retire and then die within a few years. If we have 20-25 years after retirement, as the article indicates, that is a long career for many of us.

What will we do with that time? What difference will we make?

Serve others. Find an opportunity and serve.

Be a mentor. This is almost an overused phrase but many are not doing much with it. We can help those coming behind us by investing in their lives.

Do life with purpose as you fulfill your passion. Find a need and fill it. What drives you? What fuels your passion? What gives you that purpose of fulfillment? You may have raised your family, but there are grandchildren to invest in, other young families that could use your wisdom, time, and commitment. There are organizations that would love to have your critical thinking or labors of love to make a difference.

Someone once said we move through stages in our lives…survival, success, and significance. We believe that those who figure out the significance early on will move through the first two, or bypass them for the most part. But if we do walk through some of each of these stages, then the question begs what will we do to be significant for our life purpose?

What purpose of significance can you have as we all can and should make a difference at any age?




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