From an older person’s point of view, it is amazing to think of all the identities we have been through during our lives. All of which, we are likely to accept at the time as simply being part of ‘life’.
What we realise as we become older, wiser and more aware is that we get to know our choices, perspectives, attitudes, values, strengths and exactly how we contribute in the world and towards other’s lives, how we perceive and create our own identity.
As the life stages that take us to each natural next role and/or life ‘calls us’ to do and be a certain way, at some point we get to decide, to agree, to accept and choose (or not) to be committed to each role. With each stage of life, we carry all our transferable skills, character, wisdom and knowledge into the next. Our evolving identity, as we move into our next new me!
As an example; in doing a stock take of my own life, I realise that I started out as a sister, a daughter, a cousin and niece. I then grew into becoming a student and friend. I personally did not have the opportunities to have any interest, hobby or sport other than brownies as my parents were not that resourced, however I did adopt lots of interests that my parents’ aunts and uncles had, all of a practical nature. Certainly, a sense of family and family activities became part of who I became as I grew into adulthood.
In time I became a girlfriend, an employee, an adult student, a wife, a mother and parent. It is certainly a learning curve to experience being known as a person’s wife or mother and not as our own self. Losing a sense of self can bring defining moments and the resulting indignation and motivation for us to claim – “hey, I am me, I have a name, please see me!”
After finding more of a place in my community as a volunteer I felt inspired to explore my future in community work. With fear and excitement, I took charge and sought a tertiary education in my late 30’s motivated further by a marriage breakup and an underlying belief that I was setting an example for, and seeking a better future, for my children as well as honouring my need to grow. As a result, I developed a professional identity alongside my solid identity as a family member.
Each and every stage has been a wonderful opportunity for personal growth! The pain and the passion! No doubt you, the reader will relate to that too. Both our challenges and rewards at each stage helps to build our character and deepen our sense of identity, don’t you think?
Keep in mind these helpful tips as we transition into our evolving ‘next new me’ during our ‘silver years’:
“Only when you accept that one day you'll die can you let go, and make the best out of life. And that's the big secret. That's the miracle.”
― Gabriel Bá, Daytripper
There is no doubt. Changes occurring in the senior years of our lives; both desired and planned as well as the undesirable and unplanned, significantly alter our normal style of living. Sometimes gradual changes evolve over time, other times they maybe sudden, difficult and dramatic.
Great freedoms and wonderful adventures are experienced by some people as they venture into their change years while others struggle to maintain control and keep their hands on the steering wheel of their life.
What does it take to have a level of control? To stay on track? Who provides us with the check points?
Researching the internet we find information about finances, funerals and retirement homes with little information that helps us to navigate through; our thoughts, needs, emotions, wants, desires, fears, employment issues, optimizing our health, making decisions, moving to another area, changing relationships and so on. Suddenly so many issues require prioritizing and can become very overwhelming.
Let’s be completely honest. Commonly baby boomers may not be ready to acknowledge that lifestyle changes are about to occur. As loyal, skilled and hardworking employees or business owners many baby boomers may be tired, trying to box on and do their best to stay under the radar. Struggling with shift work, full-time work, keeping up with demands and the ever present workplace pressures. If they had enough energy to be honest with themselves they might admit that they just haven’t been able to prioritize the time, energy, courage and support to give their inevitable changes the time it deserves.
2019 may be a great opportunity to consider the following check points. Here are 5 C’s to consider.
Our Facebook page maybe worth a look with 2019 Silver Years A to Z cards. Our workshops, random café gatherings, Facebook page or interest group may assist you with your Lifestyle Renovations so do explore the website … and HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!
How wonderful to witness Shane Gould at the age of 61 become the sole survivor of the Australian Survivor! Determined, stoic, clever, personable, she knew her strengths and was able to articulate them; mental, emotional, skill base and physical. She also knew her vulnerabilities and was able to strategically link with others to strengthen her position whilst being loyal, holding her integrity and being real to both herself and others. She retained a twinkle in her eye and consciously chose to see the positives in her (very often compromised) situations. She showed others up with her pragmatic skills that she possibly learned from her own generation such as lighting fires, gathering wood, cooking and set about with the practicalities of life while others watched and benefited from her hard graft.
Even when a young woman of the jury asked if Shane had been really listening to her story, or if she was simply out to win at all costs Shane was able to recall key information about her and also demonstrated that she had the young woman’s best interests at heart. Of those who she strategically contributed to their exit, she did so with humour but also respect so that even those whom she may have slighted could see she was genuine and to be respected. She undoubtedly survived considerably more than survivors but was by no means a physically weaker competitor giving it her all and overpowering younger members several times during the show.
Since dedicating time to support the interests of fellow Baby Boomers in Nelson Bays NZ in June 2018 each person I have met has demonstrated many of Shane’s characteristics.
Perhaps Shane’s example encourages us to continue to self-evaluate ourselves and our situations, to maintain a healthy attitude towards even difficult things that we need to do to survive and thrive in life and to be proud of, rely on and continue to build on our own personal strengths. To revel in the adventure and excitement of life. After all we are all the sole survivors of our own life – lets celebrate it!