MarketWatch gleefully reports on the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's oughts on what to do to add 10 years more to our lives. The musts are the usual platitudes, ranging from eating healthy to exercising 30 minutes a day.
But, the reality growing out there is that, no, we don't want those extra 10 years of life. At least not enough to trade off some Doritos right now. And, to buy in that achieving longevity is in itself a marvelous accomplishment.
For example, if I keep doing my 30 minutes of exercise a day I could go beyond age 89. Then, the financial types are predicting my Social Security monthly check will be cut more than 20%. Also, there will be reductions in Medicare benefits. Plenty to look forward to?
Yesterday afternoon at my meditation group at the Unitarian Church here is Youngstown, Ohio, one of the members - a retired teacher - told us that her monthly pension check had already been downsized. She's still making ends meet and hasn't lost her condo. My advice to her as a coach for the over-50: You can always get a job at a local outbound call center. Those and grocer Marc's hire in this area.
For those of us who are making it our business never to retire - work has been our identity - the struggle is constant to continue landing stimulating, well-paying assignments. Ageism is rampant. And it begins in our early 50s.
In the amazing book "Disrupted," Dan Lyons chronicles how he was laid off as a tech journalist Newsweek at age 52. He had a disabled wife, two young children, and a mortgage. He grabbed what he could. He positions and packages that ordeal as satire. But the humor is black.
What some of us Baby Boomers are coming to agree on is this: Life per se is overvalued.
The school of positive thought, which dominates Americana, puts an upbeat spin on even the ordeals of a life. They create merchandise hammering how setbacks are the platforms for great comebacks. The latest on all that is how lucky we aging are: Now that we no longer have 80 hours of work to do weekly we can mentor younger generations. The funny thing is that Millennials smirk when we come bearing advice. Interaction among generations has hardened into silos.
But the positive-attitude folks have the upper hand. As a result of all the happy-clappy spin, the wellness industry is thriving. Good for its entrepreneurial founders. But what they haven't asked themselves is: What do the aging want to be well for if they are still brilliant in their field and are underestimated, just because of their age?
The good news is that it's possible to outsmart ageism. Those I coach are doing that every day. Incidentally, my most recent client is 42 years old. AARP documents that those in the their 40s can expect to experience discrimination based on age.
In April 2014, I myself made a cunning move: I took the exit ramp from the New York Metro area to reconfigure my communications and coaching business 2,000 miles away. Yes, I was starting over.
I restructured it as a telecommuting boutique. In addition, to learn new technology on the company, I applied for and was hired for three side hustles. Days of heaven.
I made enough startup and financial progress to afford to be able to return to the east - at least as far as the border of OH and Pennsylvania. Likely, as close I will come to my former life is upstate New York. If that is to happen, it better play out before my entitlements are cut. I won't live that poor.
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