Baby Boomers are rejecting traditional retirement. A high percentage are using their skills in community volunteer roles, going back to school, working part time and starting new businesses. According to Mary Catherine Bateson, writer and cultural anthropologist, your most important work could begin as you enter the stage she calls, Adulthood II - The Age of Active Wisdom, which spans the ages of 50 - 75.
Like her mother, Margaret Mead, Bateson is a thought leader for the times, unafraid to shake up our collective consciousness. Mead opened minds in the 1960's and influenced the sexual revolution. Bateson is a leader in the aging revolution. She is asking us to look at how we live longer.
“We live longer,” she says, “but we think shorter.” In her book, Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom, Bateson says the period of Adulthood II can be a creative time. She encourages us to take the opportunity to ask: "What can I do to give meaning to these years?" If you have relative good health, the contribution of your life knowledge and unique perspective when combined with creative imagination can result in action that is meaningful and productive. Wisdom is no longer associated with withdrawal and passivity but with engagement in the period of Adulthood II.
A longtime favorite quote of mine is one by Margaret Mead.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
I'm adding one by her daughter to my list of favorites.
"We are not what we know, but what we are willing to learn."
*Find out more about Bateson's work in this ten minute talk she gave at a TEDxWomen conference.