It's often said that our culture celebrates youth—and that aging adults feel stigmatized and pushed aside. While that may well be true, as you and I age, we get to make choices about how we present ourselves to the world. We get to choose what type of role we're willing to accept.
Will you and I accept a victim role and apologize for taking up space, for staying in a job "when someone younger might need it," for believing that we still have much to offer in our families, communities and world? Or will we see that we really do have much to offer? Will we look for ways to claim a new place in all those areas we inhabit?
Richard Leider, co-author of Claiming Your Place At the Fire: Living the Second Half of Your Life On Purpose, says, "The place of respect that elders are accorded in traditional societies represents a sharp contrast to how older adults in our society are often seen.... It's not just that they are acknowledged by their people; that is a given. As important, they claim themselves as vital resources for their communities."
He also says it's time for us "individually and as a group of people in the second half of our lives—to create a new picture of vital aging."
What a wonderful challenge. What are you doing to "create a new picture of vital aging"? Are you asking some of the large life questions such as "Who am I?" and "About what am I passionate now?" It's great to ask such questions and see what your new life purpose may be once you've entered that new land called "retirement." That phase of life is being redefined, and you and I get to reinvent what that means for ourselves. Isn't that exciting?