The Transitionals? What’s a Transitional? They are me and a whole lot of you reading this post. Maturing (or aging) Baby Boomers. Let me explain:
Baby Boomers have been unlike any generation that preceded us. Rejecting the ethos of our elders, we successfully reinvented every stage or season of life we have experienced. We began as Hippies, then transitioned to Yuppies and moved on to positions of power by running companies and governments. We created the discipline of technology (think Steve Jobs and Bill Gates) that Gen-Xers and Millennials are in the process today of taking to whole new level.
Now we are reinventing something new yet again: The notion of retirement. For many of us, retirement is just another long “four letter” word.
We Don’t Retire
Instead, we choose to grab onto older life with gusto. Many of us still work past 65, partly because we need the cash, partly because we are scared to death of being bored, partly because we love our career, but mostly because we are doers not lack-luster sitters. For many of us the idea of a daily regiment of golf and martinis is an appalling thought. We love to produce. That’s what we do. We built the powerful American economy and generated radical growth in the sciences, film, and environmental consciousness.
We are beginning the initial phases of replacing retirement with something else. None of us know exactly what that is, but we do know what it is not. It is not the notion of retirement in the same way as that of our parents.
At 67 I’m in the Vanguard of the Boomers. Most Boomers are still in their 50’s and early 60’s and living in some nebulous phase of denial because there is no model to follow. Like always, we must be the inventive ones who will have to create a model of our own. What might that model look like? I certainly don’t know, but I do have a few ideas with which I am experimenting.
We Choose an Engaged Life
It begins with Full Engagement in Life. I think fully engaging in life might be the initial key to Our Next Chapter. The degree to which we are engaged in something with which we find joy, fulfillment and meaning increases our chances for a good old age before we reach old, old age. In life’s third season of Autumn, we “Transitionals” have an opportunity to apply our freedom to choose, deciding if we will really live or merely exist in a state of entropic lethargy.
The follow-up question is: Where do I direct my engagement? This sometimes-haunting question is all about the object of my Engagement—a very tough question because it requires a totally different view of retirement.
The Next Chapter
To where do I go to discover solutions or options? One answer: Right here at The Next Chapter. I’ve made this my task for the upcoming decade. Transitionals require a boatload of options and a means to execute them. I intend to explore and discover these options for myself and to share with you.
Personally, I choose to fully engage in life in my journey of discovery and experimentation. Curiosity and fulfillment drive my journey. However, there is one significant alteration to the processes that I employed in the past. I now choose to pursue this journey with intentionality but not with urgency. These are my Autumn years, years of steady but relaxed progress. It is essential for me to remember that each day offers its own types ordinary joys and treasures.
If I am mindful I just might discover that every day generally offers some opportunity and some form of fulfillment. In this new season of life I find that I am once again an explorer, as I was in the 60’s and 70’s and beyond. In my mind, the fun is just beginning.
Try Being a Transitional
And Engage in the Future of Your Choice
Photo courtesy of laflor at istockphoto