As I round the bend toward seventy, one thought becomes clearer with each passing year. The longer we live, the more opportunities we have to pursue our dreams. This is a message I love to share… and, to my great surprise, I have the street creds to go with it!
Eight years ago I was a somewhat normal sixty-something woman, enjoying grandchildren, golfing, tennis, travel and what some might call “the good life.”
I was wintering in Florida with my newly retired husband. Unfortunately, he was also newly unable to play golf or tennis due to back problems. I found myself with time on my hands.
A lot of time.
What began as a simple writing project, solely for the amusement of some lifelong girlfriends, has become an entirely new career as a published author.
This post is about you and what you can do if you so desire. It’s about exploring possibilities and how you can change your life, if you wish… or add to it.
Every day is a gift.
The older I become, the louder this message resonates with me. Those of us fortunate enough to age have an obligation to do something with this gift of years.
“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” This is a quote from Betty Friedan’s book, The Fountain of Age.
Get it? Forget about searching for the Fountain of Youth and believe instead in the Fountain of Age. The message the book imparts is to stop defining aging in terms of decline.
Betty Friedan blew open the doors of the women’s movement with her book The Feminine Mystique which exploded the myth of the average housewife. That was 50 years ago … can you believe that? More recently she has taken on the topic of aging in a similarly groundbreaking way.
So, like her, I’m talking about seeing a new year of life as an opportunity to pursue a dream, a chance to make a difference, an occasion to explore the possibilities that lie ahead of each and every one of us.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale encouraged everyone to be a possibilitarian and I believe those of us who are getting older are the perfect candidates for this. We know there are dark days in life. We’ve lived them. We can speak about disappointment, about worry, about illness and death. But we also are in a position to attest that no matter how dire things may seem, we should always look for the solutions… for the brighter possibilities… because they are always there. A new day will dawn.
This whole concept of remaining youthful as you acquire years, is not new. Even Plato had thoughts on the subject “He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age…”
And Aristotle encouraged everyone to be a lifelong learner: “Education is the best provision for the journey to old age.”
Erik Eriksen’s 8 stages of development suggest adulthood doesn’t begin until 65 and offers great potential.
The Fountain of Age follows this philosophy. Freidan produces research studies and anecdotal evidence that the “Third Age” (after growing up and then generating a family and/or career) may be the age of true creativity.
These later years may indeed be the right time to begin a new career or take on something you have considered all your life. You now have that freedom!
Freidan’s research demolishes those myths that have constrained many people for too long. She offers compelling alternatives for living one’s age as a unique, exuberant time of life, on its own authentic terms.
Age as adventure!
While gerontologists focus on care, illness, and the concept of age as deterioration, Friedan sets out to separate the complex actualities of biological aging from its pathologies. She distinguishes what is programmed and irreversible from what remains viable and open to choice and transformation. She demonstrates how our own control over our lives is important to human vitality after sixty.
When I held a print copy of my first novel in my hands in 2010… well… I don’t have to tell you how I felt, if you’ve been there. I was hooked.
As I began to hear from readers, I discovered that this was the greatest reward of writing. I knew I wanted more. I wanted to continue telling stories about women and life and how getting older can mean more time to achieve dreams. I feel fortunate that my writing has also resulted in speaking invitations so I have the privilege of sharing this message in other ways.
My decision to test the waters of the world of indie authors proved a wise one. The genuine culture and community of writers that has developed online in the last decade is impressive. I am blown away by the content and advice that is shared by so many. Whatever your genre, your writing style, your question, there are answers and support out there.
And then the totally unexpected occurred. In January of this year, I signed a contract with the Lake Union branch (women’s fiction) of Amazon Publishing for three of my novels. My first reaction was shock. I hadn’t been looking.
Another chapter begins and I look forward to an exciting collaboration. I also can continue to be an indie author, so it seems to me I have the best of both worlds.
Have you found your passion? Are you ready to pursue it? Choose to take a chance and make a change, no matter what your age.
Be a possibilitarian.
What are you passionate about? What contribution do you want to make to the world in the coming years? Please join the conversation.