I feel the earth move under my feet.
I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down.
~ Carole King, “I Feel the Earth Move”
Gaia is trying to tell us something. In fact, she has been trying for a while, but we haven’t been listening.
So she’s decided to raise her voice.
How many of us can relate? Like Gaia, we’ve lived beautiful, fruitful lives, yet we have yet to find our full voice, or we’ve found it, and no one is listening.
Women over 50 are especially expected to live increasingly invisible, irrelevant lives. We shy away from raising our voices, from saying what we need to say with confidence, from blowing our horns. Yet the world needs our voices now more than ever. Our ideas and leadership, our hard-earned wisdom and ability to focus on what really matters—to us, to our families and communities, and to our planet. We don’t do anyone any favors by following the status quo, by ignoring that voice inside that tells us we were meant for something more.
The Earth is showing us, in no uncertain terms—it’s time to shake things up.
Consider this: A recent study by the Kauffman Foundation found that the most successful companies are started by entrepreneurs over 55 years old. Their rate of success is almost double that of entrepreneurs under 55. Why is this? Duke University researcher Vivek Wadhwa, who studied about 550 successful companies, found that their success often rested on their founders’ extensive experience as well as knowledge that can only be deepened by time in the field, plus an acute understanding of their customers’ needs. Boomer entrepreneurs know that the essence of any successful company is serving others. They are combining work they love, that fulfills their own needs, with having an impact in the lives of others.
We can make a difference in our world while living out our true purpose—our full purpose, not just the glimpses of it that we pretend to be satisfied with. We can have purpose and profit, meaningful work and meaningful play. We have a lasting impact to make, a legacy to leave for the next seven generations and more. And we must start today, because the kind of reinvention I’m talking about doesn’t happen overnight.
Now is the time to stand up for who we are and what we believe in. We can take a stand even when the ground is shaking. We can speak up, even when our voices are shaking.
Right now, stop where you are and decide: What were you meant to do in this life? What will make you leap out of bed in the morning, excited not by what the day brings but by what you will bring to the day?
What moves you?
My own answer to this question led me to create a new website, www.AgelessFutures.com, devoted to the idea that the future of aging lies completely in our hands. This site has been a long time coming, the culmination of years of personal and professional exploration, including earning my post-graduate in adult development and aging, becoming a certified gerontologist, and interviewing women visionaries over sixty years old, women who had answered for themselves the same questions I was asking—women who had lived those answers.
We are on the cusp of an exciting time, when we have the ability to live beyond age and a generation with the guts to make it happen—for all of us. I hope you’ll join me as the site evolves and expands into a community devoted to reimagining the future and living an ageless life. We really can be forever young.