One hundred years ago the average life expectancy was 47 years. Today, at age 50, on average, we have half our adult lives left to live in reasonably good health. Over the next decade, we will evolve from a population where one in ten Americans are over 65 to one where one in four are. By 2030, more Americans will be over 65 than under 15. The size of the over-50 population will double in the next 35 years, as 77 million Baby Boomers enter the second half of life.
For the first time in history, many of us have 20 or 30 “encore” years of active, healthy life after having developed extensive skills, knowledge and experience. Retirement is becoming outmoded. 80% of Boomers expect to work for pay well into traditional retirement age. Boomers also expect to contribute their time and energy to address economic, social and political needs at home and abroad.
Many people are familiar with the term “midlife crisis”. In Chinese the character of “crisis” is made up of two characters – one for danger and the other for opportunity. Midlife transitions can be both scary and confusing. That is because the purpose of midlife is to re-evaluate the life you have created so far and give you one last chance to actualize your deepest spiritual nature in every day life. The danger is that we fail to take this opportunity for a “fresh start” and continue to do things the way we always have. This is why many people end up “dying” in their 50s even though they aren’t buried until their 80s.
Yet, the second half of life can be a deeply fulfilling life stage. With families launched, work responsibilities shifting or receding and many life goals completed, it is finally time for you. Midlife offers the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of your life and what really matters.