I have been researching the third stage of life, what I call Life 3.0 for some time now. A trend which I am finding consistent is that the “reporting” on what “boomers” are doing with their lives is centered around “senior stuff.” This gives the impression that we are solely focused on creating systems, products, and programs to take care of frail, brittle, or fat and incapacitated dithering idiots as they play out an endless loop of remembering the past and float uselessly through their remaining days on Earth. Things like elder care shopping and enrichment services which will benefit our even older “greatest generation” outliers still hanging around and will serve to sustain us if our children (assuming we had any) don’t step up to the plate to care for us in our late years.
Do we really think that the generation that invented the VCR, cell phones, the personal computer, video games, the iPOD, the iPAD, the SUV, etc. is ready, willing, or able to go to go gently into that good night? Do we have no choice now but to become all caregiving – all the time?
I have written about the Shift, sharing that most of us spent Life 2.0 doing what we must do for our children, and that it is a natural and necessary thing to Shift. But what if we had always lived a life OnCore? Some of us, like Bob Dylan who just awarded the Medal of Freedom, have never strayed far from the path we set together in our youth. He, and a handful of others, have served as a constant reminder, a voice in our heads whispering the truth while we move sedated through the Matrix. Perhaps we have not truly lived in the full expression of these inner values but many at least have remained true to ourselves in the way in which we approached or attempted to shape our reality. Do we then fully Shift? As I’m now learning – maybe not.
To explain this concept further – I am a product guy. My first major product was the creation of an IT organization and the resulting infrastructure of a retailer. My second stint was a series of software products, my third was the creation of an Internet Based product, my fourth was my photography. Now I am creating a product around coaching and the services needed to support Encore Entrepreneurs in creating their own ventures.
Have I really shifted? Absolutely yes in how I access my core values and apply my innate strengths. But maybe not so much in what I do with them. Frankly, I have always been operating in my sweet spot. If not, I would never have been as successful as I was. So what about boomers that have, like me, been very successful in Life 2.0? What are they going to do now when they are focused on giving back to society?
For example let’s take a software engineer who created video games for a living in Life 2.0. What will she do when she thinks about helping people live a better life? How will she remain relevant to her world today? Remember the late sixties? Everything had to be “relevant.” Life has always been, and forever will be, about relevance. So what is relevant to our engineer today as she ages? I don’t know, but she certainly does and what she creates when combines her gift of software engineering with her passion and purpose, will be amazing and gratifying to both her and to society. Something tells me it will be outside the limited scope of those currently reporting on the state of the elder union.
Why will this happen? Because our engineer is retaining her relevancy. She is keeping active. She is remaining connected to her environment. She has changed her diet and has taken up meditation. She does not trust that the establishment would take care of her – she never believed the “older” generation. Growing up in the fifties and early sixties, she was told to hide under her school desk in the event of a nuclear attack. As if that would seriously help the situation! She, like most of us, never believed that that generation would be leaving the word in any kind of stability. Hell, she never thought she would be alive at thirty, figuring the planet would be in a nuclear winter by that time. Suddenly finding herself in her thirties, surprised to be still alive, she started a family and entered the matrix in order to provide for them. Now, the children are grown and time is ripe for leaving the matrix. It’s time to stop cooking meals for the kids and start crafting tools for a new reality.
It’s my role to help our engineer, and others like her, define that new product or venture, take it to market and help solve the real problems we are finding in our world. Like Jim Kirk says at the end of Start Trek Generations “Did we do it? Did we make a difference?” We are a generation not interested in being in the Nexus. Hell no we won’t go….into retirement!