Researchers at the Stanford Center on Longevity confirm what we aging have been living: Becoming less social. Here are more details from The Wall Street Journal.
Back in May 2014, in Tucson, Arizona, I first bumped into that reality. Previously, I had had a reverence for relationships from the past.
I had relocated to southwestern AZ from the New York Metro area for two reasons.
One was a more affordable lifestyle.
The other was to flee the careerist pressure in order to figure out on my own how to reconfigure my two businesses. Being based in the global headquarters for capitalism had made me a sitting duck for platitudes about how to navigate the new economy.
The only person I knew when I parachuted into AZ was an acquaintance from college: Kathleen Huebner. I had picked up with her again, as usual, on Facebook. Thrown into a tailspin about aging, I made the mistake of reaching back into the past. On Facebook, before I friended Huebner, had been Lee Harrison and Irene Nunn.
Once I unpacked in Tucson, I journeyed to a retirement community in Oro Valley, AZ to treat Huebner to lunch. She wanted it to be in the dining room of the retirement community. I would have preferred to sample the local restaurants. I caved. Internally, I rolled my eyes, wondering: Is this what the new aging is all about? In the dining room were the old old surrounded by their loving great grandchildren. I was still a passionate entrepreneur. Duh.
Predictably, the relationship with Huebner went south within weeks. When she emailed me a greeting card for Memorial Day I requested that she refrain from contacting me again. Already, I had terminated the connections with Harrison and Nunn.
Way back in the 20th century, Judith Viorst warned us of the need to break off with people, places, and ideas which were keeping us stuck in the past. That book was "Necessary Losses." More recently executive coach Henry Cloud hammered the need in fast time to initiate those "Necessary Endings" - the title of his book.
People from the past, I have found, can be the most powerful forces preventing us from leaving our comfort zones and having the guts to embark on new paths. The past, incidentally, can be fairly recent.
In 2004, a bunch of us early adopters of social media, who were over-50, bonded. It was days of relationship heaven. Then that niche became glutted. It was no longer the most lucrative or influential place to be for the aging. The Millennials and iGens had the edge.
To figure out how to launch a line of business to replace that I had to unfriend that group on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Once that force field was shut down I was able to focus on strategy. Within seven months my startup was delivering profits.
Most of us who are aging need to work, for the money and/or for psychological reasons. We cannot afford, literally, to surround ourselves with people who are not aligned with that ongoing hustle.
What puzzles me is that I didn't realize that sooner.
Our generation, at least, had been socialized in Nice.
Nice doesn't live on planet earth, not any more.
Kind does. And kind is a lot different from nice. I am kind to the three people in my current social network and the 24 in my professional one.
Contact Jane Genova firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Over-50: Outsmarting Your Comfort Zone” https://over-50.typepad.com/over-50/2018/05/outsmarting-your-comfort-zone-free-book.html
“Over-50: The Four Monsters in the Mind” https://over-50.typepad.com/over-50/2018/04/ageism-bites-.html