What’s a GeroFuturist?
It is a unique word, and it’s because my role is unique. It really started way back in my early, early career where I became a futurist by chance. I didn’t expect it. I ended up in financial services after having been an educator and a serial entrepreneur, as many of you may have had many careers along the way, but becoming a futurist, and a futurist is not someone that reads tea leaves or crystal balls. But we are people who study trends and create alternative scenarios or stories or narratives about what the future might be in different situations. At that time, I was doing it in the business world, but I was doing it in financial services, where I ended up obviously, part of my life story arc, but I ended up in retirement services. I had to study because I was new to this world, having been an entrepreneur in a whole other world, but I had to understand, who are we serving? Why are we serving? What would it look like in the future? Well, lo and behold, by the end of my tour of duty there, which was about 10 years in corporate, I was an established futurist and a strategist as well.
So, that was the futures part, but here I was studying about the graying of the globe and the graying of America before anybody was really talking about it back then. This was back in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, all of the ‘80s, actually. But it was later, after I left corporate America that I finally made a big leap into the study of adult development and aging. I want to share the story in between here, how this kind of happened or where it started, really. When I was 28, my mom at that time was 59. I was home with one of those long, wiggly cords of a phone. Well, I was washing the dishes and my kids were the in other room watching probably Sesame Street, which some of you will remember, and the phone rang. I realized it was my mom. Now, obviously, we didn’t have a caller ID back then.
But I picked it up and I said, “Hi. Oh, hi, mom.”
And something was not quite right. I said, mom, “What’s up?”
And what she said to me on the phone, “I have to tell you something”
I said,”Okay, what mom?”
The TV’s blaring. The water’s running.
She said, “I just drove into a tollbooth head-on.”
In that moment of being 28, my whole life switched. My whole life turned around. In that moment of time, which I’ll never, ever forget, obviously, I knew that I didn’t want to end up like her. I didn’t want to end up at 59 without a life. She hadn’t yet been out in the world fully. She had been a great mom, but she hadn’t yet realized herself, certainly. In that moment, I knew that forever on, if my life was going to be shortened by what was for her then very, very early onset Alzheimer’s, that if that was my destiny, if that was in my DNA and I would realize it, I needed to not stop now. Let nothing ever stop my voice and my give back to the world. So, that changed my entire trajectory.
I left a marriage of 14 years, a gruesome divorce, which a whole other story for another time about renewal and being a woman and what that means, and I moved on. Later on, that story stayed with me so much that when I left corporate, I went into getting a post-Master’s degree in gerontology, adult development and aging. So, by the time I kept moving up, I felt like—there’s an old myth called Sisyphus.
The guy that pushes up the hill with the rock, the boulder, and then he rolls down. He pushes it all the way to the top and rolls down. So, for a long time, I felt that way, because I was pushing this new understanding and the seeking I had about, what does it mean to be an older woman? What does it mean to be older anybody? But especially, what does it mean to be an older woman? And who are we when we’re no longer young? So, that story kept pushing and pushing me through, which we can get back to other subsets of that, but because of that, I always felt bifurcated. I was this futurist and businesswoman. I was this gerontologist, and I was this coach.
How does it all come together?
It came to me that really, what my destiny path has been was to bring that together, to bring the study of Boomer foresight, as I call it, and business and soul work and the future and women’s path together. So, that became GeroFuturing. The combination of the two. And I believe it is the future for many people in terms of a new career. So, I would really encourage people to move in this direction, and I can clearly show them how. So, that’s how GeroFuturist came in. What’s interesting with all the different monikers I tried over the years, that’s one everybody gets. If they don’t get what it means, they get that they need to ask what it means, and then that opens up a whole other volume of material.
That’s part of my visionary’s journey to become a Geo Futurist. I’d love to hear yours in the comments. Even just a snippet. Please share.