Research Paper By Deborah Campbell
(Holistic Lifestyle Coach, UNITED STATES)
We’re all going to get older. It’s how you handle the change that will make all the difference. Oprah Winfrey
The most illustrious generation in American history – the Baby Boomers – began reaching the traditional retirement age of 65 on January 1, 2011, at the astonishing rate of 10,000 people per day and continuing every day to 2030. Due to their formidable size, influence and finances, the Baby Boomer generation has a significant impact on the United States demographically, culturally and socially. They covet to leave the world a better place with a legacy of values and life lessons.
However, for these men and women, the second 50 years is unfamiliar territory saddled with multiple layers of circumstances unique to this generation such as: longevity, economic, personal purpose, health and wellness, career, family unit and quality of life. Switching gears as one nears traditional retirement age can be difficult and perplexing yet offers opportunities and challenges. The Baby Boomer men and women don’t know what to expect or how to successfully manage the bonus years. Through the support and assistance of a Holistic Coach, these individuals have an opportunity to transform the second 50 years from a mid-life crisis to a happy, fulfilled, meaningful life with purpose.
The Baby Boomers
The term “Baby Boomers” refers to the cohort of 78 million people born between January 1, 1946 and December 31, 1964, following World War II. The last of the Boomers known as the “younger Boomers” began turning 50 on January 1, 2014. More than 4.8 million people were born in 1964. (U.S. Census Bureau)
They grew up in an exciting yet volatile time in history experiencing: the moon walk, Vietnam War, experimenting with sex and drugs, fights for civil and women’s rights. New leaders and thinkers emerged who reshaped our world: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey. America experienced a shift in leadership thinking through Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The Golden Years Redefined
The Boomers’ biggest impact will be on eliminating the term ‘retirement’ and inventing a new stage of life… the new career arc.– Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Preceding the Baby Boomer generation, The Golden Years referred to the years following retiring from full-time work, at the age of 65. Retirement began with a party followed by moving to Florida to enjoy a leisurely lifestyle of golf, fishing, travel and TV. The phrase implied to enjoy life.
However, the modern version of The Golden Years is as diverse and colorful as the generation that is changing the meaning of retirement with words such as: reinvent, reimage, encore, third agers and generation ageless, all referring to a second chance or a new chapter in life. Retirement for the Boomers isn’t the end but a journey into
The Third Age – A time to change course – Fulfillment
as coined by William A. Sadler, Ph.D. (Sadler, Ph.D., 2006)
We have an unprecedented gift of life – many more years to live than we ever dreamed of or prepared for. A major question for individuals, institutions, and societies is: what will we do with these extra years? But suppose individuals change course in midlife and insert that bonus into the middle of their lives, rather than saving it until the end. In fact we’re already seeing that begin to happen, with some people experiencing vitality, growth, productivity, and greater satisfaction by delaying advanced aging with personal skills of growth and renewal. They enjoy greater longevity often without debilitating disease and disabilities. People positively changing their lives after fifty are pushing us to redefine the second half of life and aging,
states William A. Sadler, Ph.D. (Sadler, Ph.D., 2004)
Which Way to 100?
The golden age is before us, not behind us. – William Shakespeare –
The United States is home to 53,364 centenarians – people living over 100 years, according to the 2010 Census. The majority, 82.8%, of centenarians in the U.S. are women. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010)
Jeralean Talley, at the extraordinary age of 114, is the oldest, living person in America and second-oldest person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). GRG verifies and documents the world’s oldest people. Talley, born May 23, 1899, in Michigan is considered a Supercentenarian – people living 110 years or more. (Anderson, 2013)
Today, a longer life is becoming more of a feasible option due to scientific and technological breakthroughs. It involves being informed, making wise personal choices, a positive attitude and consistent self-care: eating right, exercise and a balanced healthy lifestyle.
There are 35 additional years between the traditional retirement age of 65 and reaching 100 years. According to the 2013 Merrill Lynch Retirement Survey the four main areas important to the Baby Boomers for peace of mind during the bonus years are: financial security, excellent health, family well-being and purpose.