Aging with Meaning and Purpose(Posted July 3, 2020)
Change is the one constant in our lives that we know is true. If we are fortunate enough to live a long life, we will be faced with many changes and transitions over our life course. Despite this truth, embracing change as we age can become increasingly challenging.
Researchers remind us that we are living in an era of longevity – a period in history which has created both opportunities and challenges that those of past generations did not fully experience. So, it’s True!! 50 really is the new 40, 60 is the new 50, and 70 is the new 60! However, this additional gift of time may also mean that we need to rethink our aging relative to careers, relationships, finances, and education (L. Gratton & A. Scott – “The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in the Age of Longevity”).
We also may need to rethink what brings us joy, satisfaction and motivation in our later life chapters. Those things that created meaning and purpose in our earlier life chapters are no longer relevant...children are raised, careers have peaked, friends have moved. The social, professional and relational constructs that worked for us in the past, may no longer feel like the best fit anymore. We have officially crossed into the season of middlescense. A stage full of paradoxes – ending and beginning, fear and excitement, pulling back and taking risks, loss and gain.
Much like adolescence, the season of mid-late life can create a similar state of confusion and uncertainty. It’s during both of these life stages that we may experience feelings of being lost, stuck, less confident, restless and undefined. These periods often create a sense of aimlessly floundering through the wilderness with no clear direction or clarity on which path to pursue next.
Reimagining our lives and the possibilities of “What’s Next” can help us better embrace our later life stages and age more successfully and with a greater level of satisfaction. Letting go of our “old story” helps us incorporate a remarkable new mindset and embrace a “new story” for our next life stage (R. Leider – “The Power of Purpose: Find Meaning, Live Longer, Better”).
A more meaningful and purposeful “second half” is very much achievable through the exploration of strengths, core values, passions and interests. It’s an ideal time to re-examine priorities, goals, bucket list, and even legacy.
Tomorrow will be a new chapter in your life story...make it a meaningful one!
Gerontologist, Aging Strategist & Coach
AgeSmart Strategies, LLC
Bio of Kerry
Kerry Thomas is a Gerontologist and founder of AgeSmart Strategies, LLC. She is passionate about helping people thrive and age successfully by coaching people in mid-late life on how to create and sustain meaningful and purposeful next chapters. Kerry relies on strategic tools and training to assist clients in gaining clarity and direction during this season of life, by turning their core values and interests into an achievable and purposeful road map.
Additionally, Kerry has focused much of her gerontological research on the impact that an Aging Workforce will have on U.S. business and older workers in coming years. 10,000 people turn 65 every day and many are working past the traditional retirement age, either by choice or need. Relative to this topic, she has served as a guest lecturer at Georgia State University and as a speaker for the Southern Gerontological Society and the International Council on Active Aging.
Earlier in her career, Kerry was Vice President of National Accounts & Public Relations for Piedmont Office Realty Trust, a $5 billion New York Stock Exchange traded Class-A office Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). She also served in various Sales, Public Relations, Marketing and Client Relationship Management (CRM) capacities for Wells Real Estate Funds, Georgia-Pacific Corporation and the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Bobby Dodd Foundation.
Kerry launched a Women’s Special Interest Group for CoreNet Global, an association for corporate real estate and related professionals, and served 3 terms on the CoreNet Atlanta Chapter’s Board of Directors. Kerry holds a Master of Arts degree in Gerontology from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She resides with her husband, Joe, in Atlanta, Georgia and has two grown children. In her free time, she enjoys biking, yoga, and her role as a volunteer writing elder life stories, as well as facilitating elder life story workshops in group settings.
Material from www.thetransitionnetwork.org, 09:33:25 July 28, 2021.
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