Living Agelessly – Is 70 the new 40?
BY BARBARA PENN-ATKINS
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” This opening from Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities resonates with me.
This is particularly true when I speak about the fundamental shift taking place in how many of us perceive growing older, and what that can mean for many women these days. People in this demographic are searching for a more fulfilling life, more authentic work, and something that will fuel or revitalize their passion for starting new careers.
Today’s generation of women want more out of life than just surviving; they want to thrive.
This search for meaningful endeavors is reshaping outmoded assumptions of what it means to “grow old.” Those outdated concepts are being replaced with a world of opportunities, possibilities, and a desire for women (and men) to live their “greater self.”
Today’s generation of women want more out of life than just surviving; they want to thrive by making a difference in their environment, their communities, government, jobs, and business. Inclusion and equality are uppermost in many minds.
This was the revolutionary thinking of Hilary Bufton when he founded the American Business Women’s Association in 1949—for women to reach the glass ceiling, have a seat at the Board Room table and share equity in all facets of our socio-economic arenas. Bufton visualized women becoming change agents in a world that would give them their due diligence, seeing them for their attributes, potential for leadership, and ability to achieve in any endeavor they chose.
It was at age 39, almost by accident, that I began to explore my own potential, find my inner strength, and discover my risk-taking spirit. I attended a seminar of the American Business Women in Detroit titled, “Why You Should Be A Woman Business Owner.” I left that meeting energized. A paradigm shift in me pointed the way to my discovery of a “Purpose-Driven” Life.
The urge to go into business had been my lifelong dream, along with a desire to make a difference in my life and the lives of the people I cared about.
At the time of the meeting, I had been working 24/7 at my husband’s executive search firm. The meeting provided me with the tools I needed to begin the journey of finding something more satisfying to do with my life. I asked myself questions that forced me to take stock of how well I knew the “real” me. What were my core strengths? What was better left to others? What was most important in my life? The answers helped me visualize what it would take to merge passion and purpose in pursuit of success.
This economic downturn of 1980 had forced many women in the clerical workforce into layoffs and unemployment. It was also the beginning of the computer word processing era. I saw this period as fortuitous, a prime time to find a need and fill it, while simultaneously challenging the status quo by starting a business in a male-dominated industry.
With $1500 borrowed on my life insurance, I wrote a business plan with strong Vision and Mission Statement that captured sophisticated systems and procedures and helped me form a company that within five years had grown to a $2.5 million-dollar enterprise. My business had a full-time staff of 185 employees in three locations providing word-processing and data-entry/data conversation services to Fortune 500 companies, state, local, and federal government agencies.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AGELESS LIVING edit2 Barbara Penn-Atkins is an encore entrepreneur; A Certified Retirement Transition Life Coach, speaker and author. She is the author of 70 is the New 40 – Bonus Years Here We Come. Connect with Barbara at www.SunRiseBeginnings.com or firstname.lastname@example.org