If you're not familiar with Dr. Ken Dychtwald and his organization, Age Wave, you should be. Founded in 1986, Age Wave has become the pre-eminent consulting firm on our aging population. Dychtwald has just released a new book with co-author Bob Morison called What Retirees Want: A Holistic View of Life's Third Age. Dychtwald is contributing his earnings from the book to the American Society on Aging.
In a recent article for Forbes magazine, Dychtwald and Morison discuss the "Third Age," which begins somewhere after we turn 60 years old. They see the Third Age as an exciting and vibrant time of life, very much unlike what "retirement" used to mean. Instead, they write, "The third age is now full of potential for individuals, families, and society. The scope of this potential is enormous and unprecedented. And from this perspective, modern elders are seen not as social outcasts, but as a living bridge between yesterday, today, and tomorrow – a critical evolutionary role that no other age group can perform."
Still, Dychtwald and Morison pose an important question: "Will the Boomers use their experience and assets to help shape a future based on mindfulness and generosity of spirit? Or will they act only to promote their own interests #OKBoomer-style?" Psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, told Dychtwald and Morison, “The legacy to the Boomer generation won’t be the ‘me first’ image of their early years, but rather the potential huge surge in volunteerism that might characterize their later years. It’s not how you begin the act, it’s how you leave the stage that people remember.”
I think Dychtwald, Morison and Goleman have hit upon one of the key challenges of the aging process. Are we in it for ourselves or for something bigger and, presumably, better?
Most of the Boomers I know seem to be on the right track. They're interested, engaged and fully embrace the Third Age.
Personally, I've embraced the Third Age by calling it "rewiring" instead of "retiring." As I've written in previous posts, I chose to leave my primary professional career and rewire, not retire, to live what I like to think of as a multi-faceted life that includes some work, some play and some giving back.
During this tough time of COVID-19, it isn't always easy to maintain a positive attitude -- but you can be a survivor. How? If you have the kind of variety in your "rewired" life that frees your mind, heart and soul... and your underlying outlook is generally optimistic. More importantly, you'll leave a legacy of which you can be proud.
HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.