Aging Can Be an Active Time If You Make Yourself Ready for the Opportunity

by on February 22, 2011

Aging Can Be an Active Time If You Make Yourself Ready for the Opportunity

midlife changes coach

There was an article in my local newspaper this past week which really caught my eye.  The article was entitled ‘Active aging’ at 50, and focused on the number of opportunities that will be available to those who choose to serve the “50 years of age and older” population in the coming years.  There were many predictions around the need for more in the way of wellness programs, personal trainers, age-friendly cities, “green exercise” and the re-engineering of industries to accommodate a healthier older market.  Additionally there would be a redefinition of retirement with workers retiring far later than preceding generations, not just because they want to earn additional income, but also to feel useful and productive.

These are very encouraging forecasts for the Baby Boomer generation and those generations to follow it as they get older.  In many ways the Baby Boomer generation is the first to have these opportunities be available to it.  If you go back to just before the turn of the 20th century, the average age that people lived to was 46 years of age.  Even in the United States in the 1930’s the average life expectancy was 63 years of age.  Today, life expectancy for a person turning 65 years old this year has them living well into their eighties.  Additionally, when you factor in the sheer number of people turning 65 years old this year, (the first of over 78 million Baby Boomers over the next 18 years), predictions of services and products to support their needs more than makes sense.

If you are part of this demographic of actively aging individuals you have power.  The sheer number of individuals who will fall into this age demographic itself makes it a powerful entity.  However, it is more than just numbers that will push these trends.  Being able to take advantage of advances in health and medicine, along with better lifestyle choices will fuel much of the change.  In addition, individuals having the desire, commitment and willingness to put in the time to both enjoy and achieve in additional areas other than the primary ones they focused on in their formative years will also foster much of the change.  If those who currently provide the services will not meet the demand for what is needed, the generation of individuals moving into the 50 plus age range are as likely themselves to provide the service or product than waiting for established businesses to provide it.

The opportunity is there for those of you at midlife to take advantage of if you wish.   What are you doing to prepare yourself to seize it?  Are you looking for opportunities to learn new skills?  What efforts have you made to live a healthier lifestyle or to eat a healthier diet?  What type of planning have you done for your future?  If you have made a financial plan, have you also made a lifestyle plan?  Even if you are not ready to leave your full-time work career, what steps are you taking now toward planning for that next major work activity or recreational activity in your life?

Yes, you may still have responsibilities to address for your family.  Your financial position may not be what you desire it to be.  And, you may even wonder if you’ll ever be able to reach a point that you feel your life is truly yours to do as you wish.  However, whether you’ll be at a point to pursue your “active aging” years five years from now, a year from now, or next week, you will never be able to take advantage of them if you don’t start preparing.  And, if you do reach the point where you can begin to pursue what’s next in your life, and still don’t find what you want, remember it won’t be for lack of opportunity.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Louis P. Solomon February 24, 2011 at 8:57 am

I found the article of some interest. The data is, as far as I can see and remember, generally correct. My observations about Seniors and Baby Boomers are slightly different. Many people who reach the general age of retirement (65+) have the time and money to pursue their interests. And, that is where I see the problem which requires some thought and action.

Up until the time of retirement many people have their time taken up by the demands of their daily life and work. The time for exploration and implementation of other interests is quite small, and perhaps not available at all. But, with retirement, the entire picture is changed.

Life is, so far as we know, a one time trip. Better enjoy it while you are on it. So, retirement allows time to concentrate on interests which perhaps have been suppressed for a life time. While our physical abilities may be less than at a younger age, they still allow us to get around.

The world is open to us in a variety of fields. The use of electronic media for expression, communications, etc is a new world. While many elders are not particularly Internet savvy, they can learn at their own pace. Making new friends throughout the world, over one’s back fence, so to speak, is now easy, and with Skype (and others) you can easily talk to and see people who have interests in common with you, even though you may never physically be in the same area.

The careful use of time and thoughtful efforts is what makes the Senior Years perhaps the most enjoyable and exciting times of our lives.

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Tony Calabrese February 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Hi Louis:

Thank you for your very insightful comments. Your message is definitely inspiring and is one that shows those approaching the point in time where some of those daily demands are lessening and their need to work fulltime lessens, there are a world of choices out there for them to pursue. The key is being willing to examine for yourself what those interests are and then being passionate enough to try those that call to you. Again, thank you for your input and I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

Tony Calabrese

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Laurie Shellenberger February 25, 2011 at 7:36 am

I like this aricle in that it encourages people to consider nextsteps!! Currently working in the knowledge management field where we are interviewing those in midlife who are retiring and passing their knowledge to a new person taking over – has been very eye opening. Asking questions such as what is next – gets very different responses. Looking at developing a “community” of conversation and knowledge through my facebook page and blog so hope you will join!! I intend to stay connected to this group. thanks for sharing. (facebook: nextsteps: midlife transitions (boomers).

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Tony Calabrese February 25, 2011 at 7:52 am

Hi Laurie:

Thank you for following up. I definitely am interested in seeing what your studies find in terms to the answers that people have to questions on aging. I would encourage all those that come to the Absolute Transitions site to connect wtih your facebook study since I’m sure the findings will be of interest to all. Thanks for connecting.

Tony Calabrese

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Louis P. Solomon February 25, 2011 at 8:58 am

Most of the things we physically do are easily taught to our successors. This applies in the office environment (how to work a specific software program) as well as the home environment ( how to make coffee). But these are NOT the things which are important: it is the memories and the insight that Seniors have which should be passed along in the form of stories and pictures which become their legacy to the succeeding generations. That is why we operate Life Echoes. We provide this process which can pass along tales, recollections, memories, experiences to following generations.

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