Keeping purpose in your laterlife

Vector silhouettes of man.

A recent management magazine article inspired this post. The word purpose sprang out. So without entering into a sermon, what does it really mean – purpose? It could be said young people have by dint of youth purpose in their lives: to grow-up,expand their horizons,achieve ambitions, have families, help others, and so on. But what about older people in later life?

What we are about…

This is a big subject, this idea of purpose.Sadly,in later life,many people feel they have no purpose, but why should they not also have a reason to live, a sense of worth; motivation in their lives and the means, not merely monetary, of achieving full and satisfactory lives to the best of their abilities? Exploring this area is a core justification, the raison d’être, for this site.

What motivates us…?

Josep M Rovirosa

In finding that a desire for purpose is there in most of us, whatever our age,and throughout our lives, several of the incentives set-out in the Professional Manager magazine (Winter 2015 edition) of the Chartered Management Institute,as being important as non-monetary motivators for employees in business, can be shown to apply equally across all walks of life and all age groups. These motivators can be covered under the following headings:

  • Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives (Daniel H.Pink) and not be undermined by outdated notions of how older people are expected to behave which can lead to low self esteem and a feeling of not being in control.
  • Mastery – Pink again defines this as ‘the urge to get better at something that matters’.This is a reasonable aspiration any age.More and more people in laterlife are looking for training and encouragement to acquire skills they have not had hitherto.
  • Gratitude – We all like to be appreciated.A good job done or a kind word expressed or helpful act can often be recognised by a physical reward,such as a bunch of flowers and will receive a good emotional response.
  • Flexibility – older people in work can be motivated by flexible life/work balance. This can facilitated by the use of technology enabling home working, often to free-up time to play a continuing part in the extended family where working children and their young children maybe involved.Flexibility, too,is looked for in an age where there is no default age for retirement.People can use help to make their individual best choices for dealing with laterlife.

All of the above non-monetary motivators seen as impacting society and personal growth in the well managed workplace apply equally to the well managed laterlife.

Old age is…?

Maurice Chevalier, the French actor,once said: Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternatives. Although we may argue as to what age he may have been referring as being ‘old’, what is probably beyond dispute is that many people having retired or passed a ‘significant’ birthday find such change in their lives that they do not relish future years spent in old age.

Whilst ageing is inevitable the way society would have us deal with it can often make the prospect most unappealing. Although attitudes have changed in recent times towards the people of a certain age, the stereotypes still accorded to the elderly can be discouraging. Many of these pointedly suggest that having reached old age only a certain lifestyle and personal conduct is expected. Behave and dress accordingly,expect to be treated as a person who is retired from gainful or purposeful activity.

…and finally…

the60life.com will be returning frequently to all the above issues and bringing you some resources and information from around the web.One of our favourites currently is laterlife.com.

Please join us often. Share your views with us.Let us know what you would like this site to cover,and we will try to help or find somebody who can.

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