There was a time when we couldn't wait for things to change - for school to end and the summer to begin, to go away to college, to find a job, to find a better job, to find a partner, and perhaps find a better partner, to watch our kids grow up. But now we are just as likely to fear change, especially if we become preoccupied with the unpleasant ones that come with age.
As we pass the halfway point of life we may begin to wonder what we will do with the rest of it. We long to explore new horizons of self-discovery and experience, but we fear the wages of age - loss, decline, disappointment. Is our glass going to be half-full or half-empty? The scale is tilted by circumstances - health, finances and luck - but it is also weighted by outlook.
I've got 25 years on Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook honcho whose new book has people talking about how far women have come in the world of work. But much more than mere age separates the two of us. Sandberg is unabashedly ambitious, and she urges readers of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead to follow her example.
Admit it, you've sneaked a peek at the Facebook listing of a grade-school pal or enemy; you've Googled a high school sweetheart; you've even contemplated going to a reunion, after decades of scorning them. You may not be able to explain this increasing curiosity about those long-lost relationships, but we are all doing it. Think of it as historical house-cleaning. Among the many needs that emerge as we reach our fifties, sixties, and seventies is the need to explore the past, put nagging guilts and resentments to rest, and cull the meaningful lessons and cherished reminiscences we want to preserve.
I have always dreamed of going on a safari - the elephants roaming, the lions stalking and the luxurious tent and campfire meals! This would be the moment to go for it - my kids are grown, my freelance work gives me the time flexibility, I am still healthy, and I have enough financial backing to take the trip of a lifetime.
Search AARP Blogs