The Power of Having a Purpose Beyond the Workplace

Dan Buettner, longevity researcher and author of The Blue Zones discovered that people living in certain regions of the world lived longer, healthier lives than in other regions. One of the common denominators for people living in these regions was that they typically lived with a sense of purpose. Having a sense of purpose has been associated with a healthier, longer life. Some evidence from Buettner’s work suggests that having a sense of purpose may add up to seven extra years to our lives when compared to those who do not experience a sense of purpose. Purpose Beyond the Workplace…

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Appreciating the Elder Women Who Saw What I Couldn’t See

I hadn’t thought about Mrs. Dempsey for over a half-century. I was thinking about this week’s theme, remembering, when Mrs. Dempsey’s name and face popped into my mind. I remember how white and soft her hair looked compared to her tanned and weathered face. She’d lived a good while before I ever met her. She was also a person who saw something in me that I couldn’t see. The Importance of a Caring Adult Mrs. Dempsey was my 4-H leader when I was in the fourth grade. Each week I looked forward to going over to her house after school—not…

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Getting Older Doesn’t Have to Suck Swamp Gas if You Practice Gratitude

Some people may think that getting older is like sucking swamp gas. Have you heard people say things like, “Getting older sucks,” or “I don’t like to see myself on camera because I look so old!”  For many of us, getting older is an adjustment – both psychologically and physically. At some point, we are confronted with the reality that we’re not going to be “forever young” no matter how much we may want to believe it. The good news is that there is something very simple we can do to support positive aging and potentially support a longer life…

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Discovering the Discipline of Gratitude

Yesterday, I was jogging (or more realistically, shuffling) up a hill near my neighborhood. Halfway up the hill, I could feel my body trying to fight gravity. My legs felt heavy, and I could feel my heart pounding inside my chest. I took a deep breath and then expressed gratitude for having legs that could still carry me and a heart that was still pumping blood throughout my body. As I kept pushing myself to move, I realized the joy I was starting to feel was more powerful than the discomfort I was experiencing. Focusing on gratitude has been associated…

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Older Employees Also Need to Feel Appreciated

During the late 1990s, I was an educational researcher. I had a manager, Roy, who inspired us by showing genuine appreciation for the contributions we all made to our organization. I’ll never forget the time he sent ‘thank you’ emails to each of us when he took a business trip. He just wanted us to know that he appreciated our work and mentioned specific ways that every person on his team made valuable contributions to our program. I think most all of us would have followed that man anywhere. Each of us felt valued and truly appreciated. The Value of…

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Gender Differences: Retirement And Aging

  Gender Differences: Retirement, and Aging Do your sex and gender matter when planning for retirement or living a long life? I’ve spent more than three years reviewing the literature on retirement and aging. I also became a certified retirement coach last year. Even though I’ve seen some articles and read books that talked specifically about how gender affects our ‘ever-after’ life, I believe some of the differences based on sex and gender need to be examined more closely. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be updating information and adding links as they become available. Work Identity Issues…

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It’s Time: Become the Person You Were Meant to Be

Once you cross the age-threshold at fifty, there is no turning back. Sure, you may still feel young as ever, but something has changed. Your skin is no longer as elastic. You’ve got some wrinkles around your eyes. Your hair is now a mix of grey and your natural color. You realize that time is more limited. All the things you want to do, all the things you want yet to accomplish create a new sense of urgency within you. Welcome to the second half of your possible century of living; it is your time to become who you were…

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I’m Not Elderly; I’m an Elder in Training

Last month, I saw this headline on Bloomberg News: “America’s Elderly are Twice as Likely to Work Now Than in 1985.” The author of this article explained how people 65 and older are not retiring when they reach full retirement age. What? The author is referring to sixty-five-year-olds as elderly?  Wait, I’m over sixty-five (I’m 67), and I’m not elderly!  I’m an elder in training. Perceptions of 'Elderly' as Negative When ‘elderly’ is used to describe older people, the connotations are more often negative than not. Elderly is generally associated with individuals who are diminished or near the end of…

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Positive Aging Doesn’t Happen in a Vacuum

When I finally acknowledged to myself that I was entering a new period of my life—a period of elderhood—I started preparing myself for this important transition. I anticipated finally being free to be the person I really was—a person without the constraints of my former workplace identity. I was looking forward to aging positively. What I hadn’t realized was that positive aging doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I read I studied, I contemplated, and then I read some more. After a while, I realized that most of what other writers and thinkers shared about positive aging I had finally learned.…

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We’re a Diverse Group: Stereotyping Us is a Mistake

  In Oregon where I live, the fastest growing age group in the next ten years is projected to be people who are seventy or older.  Our nation and our globe are experiencing a dramatic demographic shift as our overall population is getting older. Yet, we're a diverse group, and stereotyping us is a mistake! We are More Than Our Age What amazes me is that there are still people who look at those over fifty and simply see a wave of grey. We’re so much more than our age. We’re a diverse population. It is true that as some…

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