Interesting Article in The Atlantic by David Brooks – The New Old Age.

This article is in line with my research into rethinking retirement and has an emphasis on the programmes created by leading universities such as Stanford University – Distinguished Careers Institute.  These take successful older people into a year or so where they can reflect and transition into a new phase of life. A powerful, but very expensive experience.

One reason that I researched the adjustment to retirement is because it is a major transition, bigger than adolescence. We move on from our adult life based on success, into one more focused on something else – giving back, learning and doing something new, taking time to be and to reflect more on the big question – Who Am I?

As we move on to this new life stage our old identity doesn’t serve us well. Time to rethink our purpose. It’s not just for the high achievers, it’s relevant whatever our work and earlier life.

The article quotes Derek Thompson:

Many Americans, have come to assume that work can provide everything that humans once got from their religion—meaning, community, self-actualization, a sense of high calling. Moving on from an identification with career success can be a challenge. We need to move on from being a master of performance to one who serves.

I cover this in part 3 of my book – Rethinking Retirement for Positive Ageing.

It helps to take time to pause, and to reflect. To stop being so busy. We need to create a space for silence and quiet reflection. That’s why owning a wood is so important to me, a chance to go out and be quiet and to allow my mind to wander. And then I find an answer.

It’s a long article and covers much of what I’ve already learned from my research, but interesting to find something new such as this:

“The psychologist Jerome Bruner argued that there are two modes of thinking: paradigmatic mode and narrative mode. Put simply, paradigmatic mode is making the case for something; narrative mode is telling stories. Most of us spend our careers getting good at paradigmatic mode—making arguments, creating PowerPoint presentations, putting together strategy memos, writing legal briefs. But in plotting the next chapter of their lives, the fellows need to update their story, which requires going into narrative mode. They have to weave a tale of how they grew and changed, going back to childhood.

I ask my clients to look back and to do some deep reflection on their life as it is by looking back that we can look forward. I encourage them to see the stories in their lives. It’s important to reflect on how we reached this point in our life, we can then look to the next stage.

A time to consider our future is highly beneficial, and we can start earlier than retirement. I wrote Rethinking Retirement to help people make this transition.

I don’t think any other book on retirement has such a research background, making it relevant to people approaching retirement, already retired and all those who work with people in this group – including life coaches and career counsellors.

Watch the book launch video here:

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