“How the Heck did i get to be 60?”
In my pursuit, of understanding and appreciating Midlife, I have been reading about Motivation. One particular book which has inspired me is, ‘ Drive’ by Daniel H. Pink. In chapter 6 – Purpose, Daniel tells us what people usually do when they hit birthdays with big round numbers. People usually stop, reflect, and take stock of their lives. And when reaching this milestone they typically go through a three-stage reaction. He goes on to say;
“In the first stage they ask, “How the heck did I get to be 60?” When their odometer flips to 6-0, people often are surprised and slightly alarmed. Sixty, they think, is old. They tally their regrets and confront the reality that Mick Jagger and crew were right, that they didn’t always get what they wanted.
But then the second stage kicks in. In the not-so-distant past, turning sixty meant that you were somewhat, ahem, long in the tooth. But at the beginning of the twenty-first century, anyone who’s healthy enough to have made it six decades is probably healthy enough to hang on a fair bit longer. According to United Nations data, a sixty year old American man can expect to live for another twenty-plus years; a sixty-year-old American woman will be around for another quarter of a century. In Japan, a sixty-year-old man can expect to live past his eighty-second birthday, a sixty-year-old woman to nearly eighty-eight. The pattern is the same in many other prosperous countries. In France, Israel, Italy, Switzerland; Canada, and elsewhere, if you’ve reached the age of sixty, you are more than likely to live into your eighties. And this realisation brings with it a certain relief. “Whew;” the boomer in Toronto or Osaka sighs. ” I’ve got a couple more decades.”
But the relief quickly dissipates — because almost as soon as the sigh fades, people enter the third stage. Upon comprehending that they could have another twenty-five years, sixty-year-old boomers look back twenty-five years — to when they were thirty-five — and a sudden thought clonks them on the side of the head.” Wow. that sure happened fast,” they say. ” Will the next twenty-five years race by by like that? If so, when am I going to do something that matters? When am I going to live my best life? When am I going to make a difference in the world?”
Those questions, which swirl through conversations taking place at boomer kitchen tables around the world, may sound touchy-feely. But they are now occurring at a rate that is unprecedented in human civilisation. Consider: Boomers are the largest demographic cohort in most western countries, as well as in places like Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. According to the US Census Bureau, the United States alone has about seventy eight million boomers — which means that, on average, each year more than four million Americans hit this soul-searching, life-pondering birthday. That’s more than 11,000 people each day, more than 450 every hour.
In other words, in America alone, one hundred boomers turn sixty every thirteen minutes.
Every thirteen minutes another hundred people — members of the wealthiest and best-educated generation the world has ever known — begin reckoning with their mortality and asking deep questions about meaning, significance, and what they truly want.
One hundred people. Every thirteen minutes. Every hour. Of every day. Until 2024.
When the cold front of demographics meet the warm front of unrealised dreams, the result will be a thunderstorm of purpose the likes of which the world has never seen.”
My conclusion on this subject being, that as we are now living longer, in our mid lives we have greater opportunity for purpose. We just need to motivate ourselves to discover and pursue our purpose! At Mid Life Marketeer I am discovering ‘my purpose’ and it is my aim to help others to do the same!