“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art” 

-Eleanor Roosevelt

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The Straw That Stirs the Drink

The Straw That Stirs the Drink

The conversation that woke me up

It was the fall of 2018, and I was having what I thought was a casual conversation with my friend Gordon Starr–just two business leaders catching up on what we were up to personally and with our work–one of many such conversations we’d had over the years. Then I mentioned that my 65th birthday was approaching and I wasn’t sure how to feel about that milestone. How had 65 crept up on me so fast?

”You’re approaching 65. So you’ve got maybe 25 years left. How are you going to spend the next 25 years of your life?” Gordon asked.

What?  This was no longer a casual conversation.

“Try flipping your aging paradigm like I did,” he advised. “I have 22 years left, and I really recommend looking at how you are going to take advantage of what life has given you so far. How will you make the maximum difference going forward?” 

Whoa! Gordon’s questions had stopped me in my tracks. I needed to think.

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Becoming a Volunteer

Becoming a Volunteer

 

A Social Quid Pro Quo

About ten years ago I started thinking about retiring. I lived in Mexico and was teaching university students online, having already stepped back from the most active elements of my career working as a consultant for large organizations. A few years later, I moved back to the US and slowly wound down my teaching work. It took me a few years to go from “thinking about it” to making it official, but for the last three years I have been fully retired.

At first it was kind of nice; I had no serious responsibilities. I had no clients to call, no student papers to correct, and no research duties. Life was good…for a couple of months.

However, after catching up on my reading list and binge-watching Game of Thrones, I started to get bored. I started to not have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I would lie there and think about what I had to do that day: Let’s see…coffee, read the local paper (bad news), surf the net (more bad news), and walk my dogs (the high point of my day). I started to wish I had kids and grandkids. Maybe I could offer some sage advice about something or nurture a sick child. Anything to make me feel like I was being of value as I had when I felt my clients and students held me in some regard. I had no real friends nearby so visiting them was out of the question.

I had lived in this state of mind for a few months when I started to realize it was affecting my mental health. I was starting to feel depressed...

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