“To be 70 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
This evening I was interviewed on a one-hour segment of the KICKASS Radio Show, hosted by Christopher Rausch. None of our exchange was programmed or pre-planned so I had little idea what Christopher’s questions would address. Just one of his questions caught me a bit off guard. 🙂 Acknowledging that we’re all aging, he asked how I deal with getting older? Thus, my opening quote (though I’m a great distance from 70). I shared with Christopher that, honestly, I give it very little thought.
I may, however, be in the minority – at least with my baby boomer cohort.
My original intent for this post was to highlight the subject of possibilities. Then I narrowed the focus to possibilities for people as they’re aging. And then I realized I was back at the baby boomer doorstep. As Christopher and I also talked about fear and uncertainty, I recognized that the need for responding to fearful narratives of aging is probably at a peak. Large numbers of baby boomers are beginning to retire. And as those born between 1946 and 1964 shift into their seniority, they are often impacted by negative scripts that can yield heightened anxiety, feelings of meaningless, and despair.
At the same time, boomers are concerned, to varying degrees, about coming generations – particularly about the sustainability of the earth. Here, as with other pressing problems, the sheer number of boomers can have a positive impact if they’re motivated to demand change.
Boomers resist the idea of being labeled as “old,” which can work in positive and negative directions. They rightly perceive aging as a continuous process of change beginning at contraception, and prefer “cognitive age” (you are as old as you think) to chronological designations.
Regardless of your view, boomers face a variety of challenges: managing stressful careers while raising kids and supporting aging parents, changing careers, transitioning to retirement, improving family and/or business relationships, and the upheaval in their personal and professional lives.
Whereas men have their own personal midlife crisis that, in many cases, can be tempered with the purchase of a new set of wheels, a much-needed vacation, or a periodic night out with the guys – it’s the boomer women who, oftentimes, can’t seem to get a handle on the frightening life change also known as “midlife transitions.”
For those who are nearing or at this stage, here are three possibilities to help get you through this transition:
Doubt the fear. Doubt the fear that comes with “not knowing.” Sure change is frightening. For boomers, fear of the unknown can cause anxiety, anger, and self-doubt. When you doubt the fear, it renders fear powerless.
- Focus on the Positive. What’s going well in your life right now? Make a list of everything you like about being you; whatever brings a good feeling inside and causes others to want to know you.
- Dare to Dream. Boomer women have been equally busy during the first two ‘chapters’ of their lives, literally being all things to everyone else, other than themselves. Now they can shine. Find out what makes you happy and set out to follow/achieve your dream. (This can also be applied to you guys.)
Once you intentionally shift into this transition, you’ll begin to see the possibilities in your life and move toward your next set of goals. It’s not as fearful as you might think.