Doesn’t matter if you’re turning 50 or 70, staying relevant is key Even the Beatles worried about getting older. “Will you still need me, Will you still feed me – when I’m 64?”
I’m 71 but it seems to me that growing older is something that’s invariably unwelcome, regardless if you’re turning 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60. Somehow there is a sense that another major milestone has been passed, and “gosh we’re really getting old now.” Funny isn’t it, how things look depending on where you are? When you’re 30, 20 doesn’t seem old, in fact it seems young. Imagine the view from 80 or 90.
Since we’ve no choice but to age we need to find a way to greet and accept our passing years with grace and a positive attitude. Growing older isn’t as as traumatic as people imagine. And as hard as it may be to believe, but relevance is one of the keys to aging well.
As we get older, we realize that the jostling, single-minded pursuits and the make-or-break scuffles of life don’t matter. Eventually, we all recognize that its the simple things that matter most. Love, family, and doing things that make us happy. This is what I have come to understand – that the simple choices are the ones that leaves the deepest marks.
In his book, Prime Time: How Baby Boomers Will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America, Marc Freedman spells out his perception of a huge, aging generation engaging in social activism, volunteer activities, and lifelong learning. He feels “The boomers will not accept the old notions of later life, and retirement. They will refuse to remove themselves, go away, or put up with being taken ‘out of use or circulation.’ “
In the spirit of staying in circulation, being relevant is key. To determine whether you’re still relevant in changing times, here are some simple questions to ask yourself
Is there a social or familial need I can satisfy?
Is my thinking in tune with the times?
Do I still possess the ability to anticipate situations?
Is my thinking reasonably dynamic and socially acceptable?
Do I have things that I am still passionate about and keep my mind occupied?
Are I staying in touch with things as they’re changing?
If yes, we can certainly assert, “I ain’t done yet!”
I’ve learned that my open mind, my ability to laugh and to take risks (even when I’m scared out of my wits), and remembering that love and passion can always fuel me — no matter what — help keep me relevant. Being older is really no different. My body may not agree – but the heart and mind are ultimately where we’re either youngsters or old, irrelevant cows alone in a pasture. I’ll take the first.
In the words of Bob Dylan, “May you stay forever young. Forever young. Forever young. May you stay forever young. May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true. May you always see the light surrounding you”. Check out the video – I think you’ll love it!