Tuesday, September 15, 2009

60+ And Loving It! by Diane Marie Pinkard

Recently, I have been reading and listening to some troubling comments by baby boomers that are very fearful or dissatisfied with their current professional lot-in-life! Here is a brief consensus of some of the remarks I am hearing and reading:

· I can’t find a job!
· I can’t keep up with the changes and transitions, the world is moving too fast.
· Am I even good enough anymore?
· I’m having to accept positions and/or salaries that are beneath my dignity, experience, and means.
· When I am seeking employment I see the expressions on the faces of young hiring managers.
· Silently, I hear hiring staff members saying, “You are older than we are looking for.”
· Companies seem to have a very specific idea of what they're looking for in a new hire and they are unwilling to accept any deviation from that vision. Obviously I don’t fit the bill.
· Young hiring managers ask me, how easy will it be for me to follow their leadership?
· I am afraid that, if I teach and mentor these young Gen Ys with what I know, once they get it, I will be booted out the door.
· I fear that my company is feeling like they are paying me more than they want to pay me because of my seniority. I just wonder when I am going to receive my “walking papers?”
· I feel awkward and like a “fish out of water.” I just don’t feel like I fit in.

Well my response to you struggling Boomers:


And I believe that you have never been better!

I am now 63 years old and I feel like my gifts and offerings for my personal and professional life have never been greater. And I can accomplish my daily tasks with grace, finesse, and self-confidence, all rewarding me with great success. I feel like I have aged like a fine wine!

For me, I am proud of my age and I am wisely fulfilled with my vast experience. It is my many accomplishments and challenges that make me what I am today. Sometimes I feel like the rough-edged, ragged stone that has spent many years tumbling in the rock tumbler – and now I have come out to be the beautifully polished gem that God intended for me to be become. Yes, I have learned that you definitely have to do the personal work – to get polished!

Speaking of polish, two pearls of memory come up from my rich past. My Mother loves to tell me what her father used to say to her when she was a little girl: “Little Girlie, I wished I could teach you all the lessons of life that I have learned, but, unfortunately, you are going to have to learn them all for yourself.”

And second, when I was growing up, it always seemed that my mother could see so much that I could not see. And that would irritate me because I wanted to think I knew enough to make my own decisions, not have to listen to her. So one day, in an agitated state, I asked her, “What do you have Mother? Do you have a crystal ball, or something?”

She confidently answered, “You just wait and see. What you think you know now, you will be able to look back in ten years and see how more you know then, than now.” Now I have lived long enough to know the wisdom in her words.

So, after reflecting on these wise words from my Mom and Grandpa, I decided to start listing some of the benefits of being 60+. The assignment I gave myself is one I give to my clients. I ask my students to list all the good things going on in their life, then a list of all the bad. And most often, when people really dig in, they find many more items on the positive side of their list, than on the negative side. And that is exactly what happened to me!

I started writing and I could not write fast enough. I was up over 35 entries and the pen was still flying across the page, knowing I still had more items to add. A negative thought did not even enter my head. After glancing at my list I thought to myself, I will look terribly conceited if I publish this whole list. Why don’t I just pick 10 and let my readers have fun by adding many more. And believe me it was really hard to cut this list to 10! Here goes:

· I draw from a deep well of rich experience and knowledge for living my life each and every day
· I do not take things personally anymore, it is very difficult to ruffle my feathers
· I have suburb work ethics
· I am authentic – I truly walk my talk
· I am very comfortable in my own skin
· I can laugh at myself
· I have excellent interrelationship abilities that can bridge many genres
· I can love myself as much for my flaws and imperfections, as my many wonderful qualities
· I can remain balanced, centered, and grounded in times of stress and trouble
· I have a collection of life tools and skills to make life work with ease - my toolbox is full!

Yes experience does bring rich offerings to the table! But the excited young candidates also bring wonderful attributes and qualities for achieving high performance. So, if I was doing the hiring, I would be careful not to ever pass up a fine aging wine. But, I would also want to be very careful that I was not tangling with an old, aging oak tree that that did not have some bend like a young, wispy willow tree.
The key at ALL ages is: Be open to learning new things, be open to growth and change, and cultivate and believe in the rich offerings of you!!

I would love to hear from the 60+ crowd, and hear about the rich “makings” of YOU!

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