“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
I’ve been thinking about ageism a lot lately.
It has to do with the fact that, incredibly, I am turning 60 this month!
I did not want you to know that.
Recently, however, I read about somebody who died at the age of 55. And I thought to myself, what am I doing? Why am I worried about whether or not you know I’m 60? I’m 60! This is something to CELEBRATE. And, honestly, I see it as a gift that I’m here on the planet, healthy, loved, and engaged with a full, rich life.
Here's what I think. Your 60s are when you’re firing on all cylinders – that means emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually; in your 60s, you have a wealth of experience to bring to any situation, and, if you’ve done a decent job of taking care of yourself physically, you can go the gym with your 28-year old kid – and show her how it’s done (true story).
So. Why didn’t I want to tell you? I think it’s a lot less about me than it is about our culture and what they think about women turning 60.
I also think a lot of people assume that now is the time that I should start thinking about retirement and about the last third of my life.
Well, here’s the thing about me. I come from a long line of entrepreneurial spirits who just … don’t retire. My dad retired at 77, my older brother (a lot older) is still working nearly full-time with so many patents under his name we’ve lost count. It’s in my blood to be working and thinking and creating and engaging; I have no plans to stop. After all, I believe I can work and have the life I want while making even greater contributions to my profession, my community, and my legacy.
I’d argue that a life well-lived is a life lived up to the last minute…so, I am going to keep working for as long as I can. I have so much more to do! And such a legacy to leave; honestly, I’m so excited about what the future brings (and I’m excited to tell you more, too).
My ultimate hope, though, is that our culture changes – and changes soon. As you know, I am expert on retirement; I deal with retirement questions every day for our clients.
I’ve learned and have shared with clients that the most important question to ask, before retirement, is this: What is my legacy? And, have I achieved enough to leave a lasting impression on those I love, on my community, in my profession? If the answer is “no” or “not yet,” then it’s not time to stop. It’s time to kick things into an even higher gear.
Frankly, we probably all have more to give than we think we do.
Often, I see clients look at retirement as the “out” to the jobs they hate. And while that’s a fair viewpoint, of course, my challenge to you is to find something that fills you up that you’re passionate about and is meaningful to you. If you’re already doing it, keep doing it till you can’t do it any longer. And, if you don’t have it yet, well, use the last third of your life to find your why. Your passion. Your purpose.
Ageism is real. And I’ve decided that I’m not going to play the game. I’m going to be 60 and fabulous. And continue to build my vision and my dream for my clients and for other financial advisors, too. Why would I even think about quitting when I feel like I am only just really beginning?