I should know. I’m in my late fifties and in better shape than when I was thirty. I mean both mentally, physically, and economically. It all happened because of (a) education, (b) acquired wisdom, (c) learning from past mistakes, and (d) having mentors along the way. But at age 30, would have I comprehended what to do to become more successful or healthier? I doubt it. Back then I was too cocky to be told much of anything. After all, I already knew everything. I had owned my own advertising agency, I lived in a large house and made a good living. I played golf, ate at fine dining restaurants, and partied with other yuppie couples. Life was good.
The fact that I was gaining weight from eating fast food during quickie lunches, staying up until 2 am, and spending money like crazy wasn’t an issue back then. Who needed savings? There were stereos, huge 32 inch TV’s, and VHS tapes to buy. Not to mention the travel and clothing. Didn’t everyone wear the designer labels? No, I knew exactly what to do to make myself happy. But was I? It appeared so. Yet there was something wrong. I was stressed. I worried about my job and if I could keep up the pace in commissioned sales. I worried about the mortgage payments, keeping my friends and relatives happy, the holidays and what to buy, and a myriad of other issues that affected me on a daily basis. What was happening to the American dream?
Fast forward to today. I am retired and my wife and I run a website out of the home. I took a one-time buyout from my company and invested the cash. I have a home and 2 cars that are paid for. I watch what I eat, exercise, read, write articles (obviously) and books, play keyboard and am teaching myself guitar. My wife is also retired and reads, is learning piano, runs the site, creates jewelry, and enjoys her free time. We both enjoy traveling and spending time together. Our kids are grown and one is still in college. We visit with friends and family between trips. We’ve joined a fitness center and eat sensibly. Both of us are in reasonably good health and look forward to a long life together.
We reinvented ourselves when we turned 50 and never looked back. We realize that we couldn’t have done this years ago. We didn’t have the expertise or money to start a business while we both worked full-time. This opportunity came much later. We also didn’t have the contacts or the time. Now we can use our acquired knowledge and personal resources to invent a website that will be unique and also profitable. It came about because of our circumstances later in life. Now the future looks bright and we can treat ourselves to nice things without fear of failure. We already encountered lots of that during our first 50 years. Not that life will be without unexpected twists and turns, but we are better able to cope with them with the experience that age brings.
So take a deep breath, look at all the possibilities and decide how you want to spend the second half of your life knowing that us boomers might expect to easily live to be one hundred. Did I mention that most of us are optimists?
Jeffrey Hauser was a sales consultant for the Bell System Yellow Pages for nearly 25 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising and has a Master's Degree in teaching. He had his own advertising agency in Scottsdale, Arizona and ran a consulting and design firm, ABC Advertising. He has authored 6 books and a novel, “Pursuit of the Phoenix. " His latest book is, “Inside the Yellow Pages" which can be seen at his website, http://www.poweradbook.com Currently, he is the Marketing Director for thenurseschoice.com, a Health Information and Doctor Referral site.