At 61 I started my doctorate, researching how people find meaning in life after full time work, and what are the psychological factors that help.

I hadn’t done any academic studies since 1998 when I completed my MBA. I didn’t think I’d be accepted as there is such high demand and would I be able to cope with the high academic standards.

But I was accepted, and I did cope.

About 2 years ago I submitted my thesis, and a week before Christmas I completed my viva and became Dr Taylor. Still hard to believe, this is the girl who scrapped 4 O levels at school.

But I have determination and drive.

I’ve written 6 career books.

And I’m fascinated by the life stage from midlife to old age.

So, rather than study like in the past, which was to do the minimum, to see what I could get away with, I embraced learning. At times I’d go down avenues such as when I spent 3 weeks looking into the meaning of meaning and this became a couple of sentences in my thesis.

I also choose to use a technique called IPA – Interpretative phenomenological analysis. This is where you don’t set out to test a hypothesis but to gain insights into how a person makes sense of a situation, which provides richness and depth. This was not easy, but I wanted a deeper understanding, not just to crunch numbers.

On completion I expected to produce an academic article. I’d created a couple in the past. However, now I would have to pay to get published as most journals are open access where you can read without buying the journal.

I also wondered on the audience for an academic publication. This lead to me thinking of writing another book. I spent time creating a proposal, and got rejected by publishers that I’d worked with in the past. Routledge said yes, and I was very pleased to accept.

And now I’m just 53 days from the publication of Rethinking Retirement for Positive Ageing.

This book means so much to me.

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