The Invisible Bridge – My Leap of Faith at 65!

Jim and Pauline in Penang

Jim and Pauline in Penang

Checkpoint – are you heading into those silver years and feeling old and useless? Do you find yourselves in an unprecedented state of uncertainty, stress and nervous tension and the feeling time is running out? Maybe it’s just me but I find myself wanting to do more, not necessarily because I have to – although I must admit that if I had to live on my pension alone I would fall somewhere between “poverty” and “barely surviving.” In talking with family, friends and acquaintances in and/or around my age group, I am learning that my situation is not unusual. On the contrary; I find that a growing number of “baby boomers” are “in the same boat,” to put it in an overused phrase from my day.

Let me share my story and see if it resonates with you.  This month, May 23, I turn 65, and my own life, personally and professionally, has changed beyond recognition in the last year. This time last year, May 6, 2013, I had not yet set foot on Malaysian soil, yet now I live here – in a manner of speaking – and plan to transform the world from this base with my husband of just over one year.  Is it a wild dream or a realistic possibility? Am I experiencing the madness that many believe comes with old age?  How did that all happen so fast?

Allow me to answer that. It has long been my passion to transform the world; to partner with my soul mate and leave a legacy for those I leave behind when I ‘shuttle off this mortal coil.’  Decades ago I set these intentions, and trusted they would occur….yet I had no way knowing now how, where or when it would come to be.  During my life I have not always been so bold but my intentions were always authentic and always trusting.  Let me share my timeline right now.

I stepped out on to the invisible bridge  – you know … the one that ‘Indiana’ Jones stepped out onto toward the end of “The Last Crusade” – on May 21,  2012 with the certain knowledge that my “leap of faith” would plant my foot on the right path. Okay … so maybe I did not have that certain knowledge, but I felt confident enough in my intentions to take that chance. I had, after all, been setting and writing down my intentions for over 6 years without knowing the details which managed to remain largely unknown until about three years ago.

At that point my life was unfolding in an embryonic way which, at 62, was a wee bit unnerving.  During a time that would normally have someone thinking of retirement, a pension, a quiet life of being a grandparent and staying home with the grandkids, I was selling everything I considered dispensable (which turned out to be about 2/3rds of what I owned), letting go and moving headlong into a new relationship with someone who lived half-a-planet away from the only home I had known for my entire life. Not once did I really stop to consider what the consequences could be.

This journey’s outcome became more certain as time passed because I had based my choice and my intentions to share deep unconditional love with someone who shared my profound commitment to leaving the world a better place for “our” having been upon this earth. As much as that, I was drained from having done so much by myself, a feeling that “being on my own” tended to produce.

Oddly, I was not completely prepared for the speed at which this river could flow on its inexorable journey to the sea. And to this day I have no idea where it will eventually enter the ocean of all that is to be.  So now I hold fast to my courage, steer where and when I am needed, and watch as the powers of the universe chart the seas we must sail at this point in our lives.

The adventure comes with being unable to count on the next week being as I think it will be today or tomorrow. What I do know, however, is that it will be what I intended even if I fail to recognize it right away.  Have you experienced that sensation?

Do things like that scare me? Absolutely; more than I care to remember. Do I regret taking risks, setting new goals and taking a huge step into the unknown? No. 

Just as before, I know that I set my intentions and that they addressed good and decent goals. That knowledge enables me to feel truly alive and aware of the world around me.  Whether or not I like roller coasters (and in reality, I’m not overly fond of them) I am ready for the roller coaster waiting out there for me if it must be. Being the entrepreneurial creator of my life, my health, my wealth and my personal legacy is quite empowering even if a little frightening at times.  And so now with my companion, my soul mate – Jim, aged 70 – I have become far more intrepid that I thought I could be and believe me, I have done some things that Jim finds difficult to believe and more difficult, at times, to understand. We often discuss the possibility for more “baby boomers”  like us doing what we are doing. “Do they want to?” “Can we help them?” We hope so because we would like a growing number of intrepid “boomers” to join us on our adventure. There is more to the story, and in my next installment of the “Journey of a Lifetime – The Story of My Leap of Faith” I will tell you more. Jim and I feel that we are here to walk this path with you and others like you.

We would love to hear your thoughts. As some of our wisest men once said in song … “All you need is love!

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Part 2 Baby Boomers – ‘Doing the right thing’ is our motto:

‘Doing the right thing’ is our motto:

keys to successContinuing from our last blog, Jim and I are currently planning our keys to success through the development of a major enterprise to provide meaningful service to men and women belonging to what is commonly termed Baby Boomers. The plan, at this point in time, is to develop a menu of relevant and useful programs, resources and services that can be delivered either online or in a more traditional local community setting. We want to offer interested individuals and/or groups the opportunity to select skills enhancement programs that best suit their goals, whatever they may be.  The choices will be varied and tailored to suit our unique learning style – one that has the optimal balance of technology and one-on-one interaction needed to make participation relevant, valuable and convenient – allowing each the opportunity to take full advantage of their considerable experience, knowledge, wisdom and history!

worldOur aim is to ‘do the right things’ and not just toe the line and do things right like retire and lay down to die!   We aim to bring together the most effective elements of cultures – both East and West – around the world.  By striking a new balance between past and future, we see our experienced and wise generation needing some skills education and/or augmentation in order to perhaps reinvent or reinvigorate existing enterprises as well as to forge new enterprises into being. We see our role to be supportive, connective and advisory as well as encouraging – to be the go-to resource for all those in this age zone who have an interest in doing something meaningful with the balance of their lives.

This enterprise is not merely about entreprenological education, diverse knowledge and information. It is far more than that. It is about the baby boomer generation’s evolution from the youth, much like young people today, into our own unique identity. Our generation embodies a source of knowledge and wisdom based upon decades of experience the likes of which the world – by its own admission of the sheer size of our particular group – has never before known. And the best news is that the dynamism of our generation is still very much alive and well and in good hands.

We – those born post WW2 1946-64 according to official birth statistics –  were the first teenagers. We communicated on hand held devices that were connected by an electrical cord to the base set which had its own cord plugged into a special outlet in the wall – and when you left your house; you were incommunicado unless you found a public telephone booth!

teenager 60sWe were the first generation to watch television (TV for you of younger years) – one channel only and it was in black and white. Colour TV was still a few years away and very expensive.  We were part of the ‘Beat Generation’ and we created our very own ‘Rock Revolution’ without the assistance or our elders – as a matter of fact, it was in spite of their resistance. We were there for the ‘Hippie’ movement -remember ‘Woodstock’, ‘Flower Power,’ and ‘Free Love?’ We were the first to use ‘The Pill’ which made ‘Free Love’ a little less scary for some. We saw an ‘Astronaut’ walk on the ‘Moon.’ We witnessed the fall of ‘Berlin Wall.’ We also participated in the ‘Housewife’ entering the work force in increasing numbers. We were some of the first ‘Dual Income Families,’ dined on frozen cuisine known as ‘TV Dinners,’ and bought the first ‘Microwave Ovens’ that made it possible for the busy housewife to finally eat a hot meal – albeit the re-heated food she had prepared and served the family.

We were working parents at the beginning and during the early years of the technology revolution, the creation of the world-wide-web and the electronic leash we all call the mobile phone these days. Today, our children, and to a far greater extent, our grandchildren, have grown up in a world where texting, social media and a telephone in every pocket is a reality rather than an anomaly.  The sheer amount of change that has taken place in our world is almost unfathomable.

couple plus girlWe were destined to become ‘entrepreneurs’ almost from birth as the world that we came into had been profoundly changed not only by wars, but by the growth of small and medium sized business and the sweeping global communication and speed that technology brought not only to our workplaces but our homes, making local business into a global possibility in a few clicks.  Names such as Gates, Jobs, and Branson emerged in the 70s and the 80s, plus we have seen the battle for gender equality (a continually evolving landscape) coming back to the front page as women began to demand more for efforts equal to those of men. Much attention about change today focuses on the younger up and coming generations, and we honour them too.  The growing litany of complaints, however, regarding the anticipated drain that we, as a generation, is ‘going to have on the NHS’ or the fear of having ‘too many pensioners’ and – one of our particular favourites – ‘the Baby Boomers are a growing burden’ saddens our hearts.

We are the first aging generation of increasing size who also lived a different life to that of our parents.  945 million people in the world now are 55-74.  That is nearly 1/7th of the world population.  Ironically we want to not only live longer, healthier and more prosperous lives, we also want to give back – to leave a positive and sizable legacy so all who follow will one day amass the experience that we have and grow into their wisdom with pride and honour rather than embarrassment and bitterness.

So back to the plan!

Men and Women together

Men and Women together

Knowing what we are like as baby boomers, Jim and I seek to create a new framework for this project and for this demographic. What we see is a platform that will employ the best, engage the best and maintain an up to date knowledge base formatted with wisdom, love and the spirit of both giving and receiving with love – the spirit that embodies the Baby Boomer generation, a spirit that we can all be proud of. We are currently researching our peer group – nationally, regionally and globally – to learn as much as we can about our demographic in order to make the best and most appropriate use of what we learn.

World patterns, economically and socially, are changing and our generation can and are already making a huge impact locally, nationally and internationally.  We share the responsibility to put wisdom back on the map!

In Part 3 we take a serious look at the numbers…. watch this space!!!