It seems to come at a moment’s notice in between ah-ha and eureka!
Do I need to spend more time with my kids? Should I head out of State/Country more often to see my grandchildren? Am I contributing enough to my life as well as nurturing my new roles I’ve been placed in as I age? Am I a good parent? Am I a good grandparent? Am I aging the best that I can be aging? Clarity comes between trips to and from extended family and the everyday in’s and out’s of maintaining a balance while aging.
These questions are probably among many that swirl in a loved one’s brain as they say good-bye yet again to a child or grandchild who lives out of State or even out of the Country. Alas, this is the world in which we live today. We are all mobile. Many aging parents in their 60’s can’t be with their children or grandchildren as much as they would like. Many still want to remain active and work, as well. Find the balance, right?
We have the ability to move far away for job opportunities. Our children can travel and work from tiny computers or even smaller smart phones. Efficiency is no longer a 9-5 job etched in one place. Many employers seek individuals who can work remotely, or even via FaceTime. It’s possible to have a job in one state, but live in a completely different country. Call centers, customer service representatives, data management, even IT positions can be performed in the palm of someone’s hands.
How do we stay personally connected in a time when everything can seem so far away? How can we gain clarity from loved ones about the trials of life from afar. After all, so many of us are still winging it. Our paths may have begun one way, but could’ve taken a complete turn during that one memorable decade. For good, or bad. It’s impossible to predict how our final decades pan out. It’s impossible to predict how our relationships will expire and regroup throughout our lives. We can only accept how these interactions shape who we are as we age. We take the good and leave the bad. Because, let’s face it, who has time to reflect on the bad at 65?
I feel this especially rings true for people finding their “second wind” in their careers. That is, entering a completely new career at a later age in life. Not unheard of. People are living longer and studies show many of those individuals feel making their mark later in life is more fulfilling than working a high paying job with minimal, long-term impact. So, they switch to something more centered around what they love doing. Maybe the time to beef up new skills and think about becoming mobile is the long-term retirement answer.
Careers in community engagement, mentor-ship, non-profit work, even engaging in local politics are all highly fulfilling careers for those looking to make an impact on their communities. New niches in gerontology and aging are also on the rise. Especially when it comes to caregiver burn out and respite care. With a little research, someone with a business mindset would have no problem creating a respite service for family caregivers.
I am by no means trying to encourage anyone to make the decision to work after retirement. I am merely suggesting a way to pass time in a stimulating and productive way. So many people in their 60’s are healthy and psychically able to work. I get a lot of questions from out-of-state caregivers about when their mom or dad should “slow down” or retire. My answer is always firm: it’s up to the person to figure out when they want to stop working! We can’t make anyone stop working on account of their age. Why limit someone when they see their 60’s and 70’s as the impactful years?