I’m not sure where the need for New Year’s resolutions comes from. Maybe from within the soul. The soul looks inside itself and sees a need for more connectivity, more meaning.
I can tell you that I believe resolutions are important, especially as we get older and more introspective.
Resolutions give us a feeling of focus and meaning in our lives. We examine how we can be of value and extend the personal work we’ve done throughout our lives and careers.
New Year’s resolutions come from a couple of directions, I’ve found — those suggested to us by our spouses, family and friends. These are other people’s ideas about how we should change for the better.
And then there are the resolutions we identify ourselves.
It’s our personal resolutions — the ones that come from true self-examination and asking ourselves hard questions — that count.
Are New Year’s resolutions trivial or meaningful? We all need plans and direction in our lives, especially in our later years. Resolutions are at the core of personal plans. We need them as a constant reminder of our life achievements and the many contributions yet to be made.
I am asked often by baby boomers and seniors for ideas on what’s next. They wonder what meaningful project, job or contribution they can pursue, now that they’ve retired from a career. My answer is always fairly simple: Follow your passion.
I am reminded of a woman who lived at an Erickson Retirement Community and had just lost her husband. Her name was Muriel Caufield, and her husband was Clarence Caufield, a former editor of the Baltimore Sun. At age 75, Muriel told me that she had been a teacher and a wife, and that now that her husband had died, her work was done.
I said, “Oh, no, I don’t agree.” I pointed out a young man working at the retirement community who, at age 17, still did not know how to read.
Well, Muriel took him under her wing, tutoring him on reading skills several times each week. That young man went on to gain a college degree.
That’s all it took for her to realize that her life’s work was far from being complete. And she continued teaching as a volunteer for another 20 years.
Most of us have valuable knowledge, experience and skills that can be shared, particularly later in our lives when we have more free time. The trick is simply to think about what gets us personally excited and find a way to share that passion with others.
How are you sharing your passion with others? I would love to hear your stories.
It promises to be the next big health crisis facing America. And it’s going to strike in the next 10 to 20 years, as the senior population balloons from the current 40 million to 80 million.
It’s a crisis of caregiving.
As nearly 80 million Baby Boomers phase into their retirement years, the challenge of caregiving — which is already difficult — will become downright impossible. Because the fact is, there’s no way this country will have enough service people to support the needs of this generation.
Think about it: What happens when, eventually, 80 million seniors can no longer cut their own grass, drive themselves or get dressed? Who’s going to help deliver medication and provide in-home health support? Who do you think will pick up that burden?
Those 80 million retirees and their family caregivers will soon discover that service workers — the ones who have traditionally provided such support services to the aging — are either in short supply or too expensive for most people to afford.
The crisis is, in part, a result of a convergence of trends: the population imbalance between aging Americans and young Americans, and the tightening of immigration policy.
Right now, we rely on relatively minimally skilled, low-wage individuals for a lot of these services for the aging. For example, you might have a housekeeper who gradually transitions into caregiving, taking on more hours and days, because she’s already known to a family. Often these are folks who immigrated into the United States.