Tense about past, present, future

I had a lot of fun reading an article called “13 Aging Myths We Love to Prove Wrong.” I particularly liked myth #8, which is “being defined by my past only—as if I have no present or future.”

Think of it this way: If you’re 55, you could have 30 or 40 years left to live.  That’s a quite a future.   And for many people 50 and up, moving away from full-time work toward a life with more free time and—I- hope—plenty of disposable income, means they have a pretty terrific present to enjoy, too.

So why do so many people in this age bracket define themselves primarily in terms of the past—or even as their relationship to someone else? They call themselves empty nesters (former parents), retired executives/managers/business owners (former big shots), grandparent (someone’s sire, once removed).  Where is the essence of what they’re like now?

Redefining yourself after a major life transition is a hard slog, I know.  It’s a process that can take many years, even with daily reflection about adjusting.  But if you’re going to define yourself, don’t use your former career, parental or spousal status as your core identity.  Think about who you are now, and what you plan to be.

Thirty or forty years is literally a lifetime.  Don’t view this second act as a watered down version of your first.

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