Entrepreneur and fitness expert, Betty Perkins-Carpenter, 85, has met life’s challenges with dedication, tenacity and persistence, which are hallmarks of conscious leaders. Here, she shares three tips to help others dare to seek new opportunities.
#1 Make a new beginning
At 72, I decided to go back to school and get my Ph.D. to continue my life’s work researching balance as part of my Senior Fitness business. In addition to research, my experience working with babies, preschoolers, elite Olympic athletes and seniors, on land and in water, led me to develop the Six-Step Balance SystemTM.
#2 Take chances and have fun
I started teaching swimming lessons in my backyard pool, which was risky. My business grew from taking chances and having fun. After 55 years in business, I still love getting up in the morning and helping people lead happier, healthier and active lives.
#3 Nothing is impossible
My veterans post commander gave me nearly 300 photos of soldiers taken at the beginning of the Korean War. I wanted to find these veterans and give photos to them or their families. In sharing my story, I found people willing to help. Because of their dedication and hard work, we created the Snapshots from the Korean War Project. Photos can be viewed at koreanwar.democratandchronicle.com.
Posted on behalf of Betty Perkins-Carpenter
Paul G. Ward
President, 2Young2Retire, LLC
Although I believe that we are all still Too Young to Retire® I also know that there are many fears about the transitions from full time careers into new and uncertain phases of our lives. One of our 2Young2Retire® certified facilitators, Pamela Houghton, has published a new book, No Fear Retirement, written for anyone who is thinking about, or has already embarked upon, retirement.
No Fear Retirement addresses ten of the most common concerns of those who are thinking about retirement. Whether your fears are around finances, your relationships, where you will live, your identity, or something else, this book is a valuable resource. Taking time to reflect on the Pause for Thought questions along the twelve phases of retirement or associated with the ten most common fears, will make this read well worthwhile and may help you enjoy a more fun-filled and fulfilling life if or when you retire. For more information visit Pamela Houghton’s website: http://www.retirementsunlimited.co.uk/
Perhaps you want to explore a new place for weeks or months without paying for a hotel but you don’t like the idea of an exchange where you have strangers living in your house. Consider a position as a property caretaker or house-sitter, which allows you to stay in someone’s home for free in return for providing a small service, such as pet care, gardening, or property management. In addition to free housing, some caretaker positions offer a stipend, while others may even include a salary and benefits.
Caretaking could offer more exotic surroundings than typical tourist fare. A recent issue of the Caretaker Gazette advertised a salaried position for a retired couple to maintain a private lodge in the wilderness of southwest Alaska—some experience with small motors and cutting firewood is helpful. Another gig: three months in Sedona, Arizona, looking after three cats and a garden. Does a five-week housesit in Hawaii, on a property bordered by rain forests, sound appealing? You must be willing to care for a cat, six dogs and fish tanks, and water young plants.
The most comprehensive listing of property caretaker positions is published by a friend of 2Young2Retire, The Caretaker Gazette. Since 1983, the newsletter has been published in print every two months, and is also now online with email updates sent to subscribers. For more information, contact Gary Dunn via the website: www.caretaker.org.
Our identity matters and, at 2Young2Retire®, we strongly advocate a forward looking approach to identity. Kim Potgieter, author of Retiremeant: Get More Meaning from your Money, in a recent interview by Dorian Mintzer, reminded us of the importance of retiring to something not from something. “I am a retired teacher” or “I am a retired salesperson” may reflect our past identity, what we have retired from. But what is your identity now? What are you becoming?
Thinking about being a former something, a former executive, a former teacher, represents the space between who we were and who we are yet to become. Consider the question, “Who do I want to be after this transition from a career just ending?” Here is an exercise that may help with looking forward: Take a sheet of paper and draw line down the center to create two columns. At the top of the left hand column, write ‘How I see myself now’ and at the top of the right hand column, write ‘How I would like to be.’ List your perceptions of yourself now in terms of areas such as ability, competence, relationships, income, roles, etc. Then write down who you would like be in the future. Consider who you are becoming; be purposeful; retire to something not from something.
I have to downsize my library. Two years ago, while moving from a house to an apartment, I reduced shelf space by fifty percent and now a new move is demanding another one third reduction. Many of these books are easily replaceable and I know about the value of letting go to create space for the new but I really struggle to let go of books in my collection. Many have special meaning because of relationship with the author or a period of my life which allowed a deep dive into an interesting topic. The books tell the story of my journey.
A friend of mine who is also experiencing significant downsizing is taking photographs before disposal not so much of books but of a wide variety of valued possessions. I love the idea although letting go of the physical may not create the space for the emotional or spiritual to come forth. Maybe it is more of exploration. Henry David Thoreau said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” As we experience transitions before, during, and after retirement, and prepare to downsize and let go of our physical bookshelves, we can also examine our mental and emotional book shelves, and maybe let go of some things we have held onto for too long. I invite you to join me this week in examining what is really important in our lives and what we can let go.
If you are 60 or over, then stepping back into the dating world can be quite overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you meet people? Well, you might just be surprised at how easy it is to find your perfect match, because today we have the internet.
Don’t worry if you have no idea about computers, because there are usually ample free courses at your local college. So if you are of a mind, you can easily pick up the right computer skills and check out online dating.
The joys of online dating
Ten or twenty years ago, online dating didn’t have a very good name, but today just about everyone who is single has an online dating profile. Online dating is nothing to be afraid of, so long as you are sensible and take precautions. As a mature and single individual, it goes without saying that you understand the importance of not giving out your personal details to someone that you haven’t met in person. So just be sensible and you will be amazed at how quickly you can meet lots of like-minded people online.
Online dating for the over 60’s is popular because there are so many mature and single people like yourself, who already have a great life, but are missing that one special person with whom they can share their lives.
It is as if online dating was invented for the older and more mature singles, because it really opens up your world and your dating opportunities. You might be quite surprised at how quickly you meet so many compatible people who also want a loving relationship and are waiting to meet someone exactly like you.
So if you are not ready to hang your hat up just yet and you know that you have lots of love left to give to the right person, it is certainly worth your while checking out a dating site for over 60’s singles. Your perfect match is waiting for you online, you just have to let them know you are available!
Preparing for the new year requires us to reflect on the past and envision the future although not necessarily to spend equal time on each. As I approach the new year, my focus has been sharpening on the meaning of consciousness and mindfulness. I commend Ron Pevny’s new book, Conscious Living, Conscious Aging, as a good read for those wishing to age consciously and purposefully. I found the stories, examples, exercises, and practices described in this book to be most helpful in living and aging more consciously. You may not be ready for conscious eldering but we can all focus on living and aging more consciously.
I resonate with Jon Kabat-Zinn’s definition of mindfulness: “awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” but I have yet to find a definition of consciousness that really aligns with my own thinking about conscious leaders. Consciousness and mindfulness are both about having a clear purpose and greater awareness but, as conscious leaders, we are also about intention, actions, and making decisions for a sustainable future. If you have a definition of consciousness, please share it with me via the contact page on this web site.
From all of us at 2Young2Retire we wish you a mindful, conscious, and purposeful new year.
Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States of America. It is a day when we remind ourselves of all the things we can be grateful for. As many of you know, my Mother passed away last month. She was 86 years old and married to my Father for 66 years. I am grateful to have been brought into this world by such a wonderful person. I am also grateful for the opportunity of staying with my Father, in the home in which I grew up, for much of the time since her passing. I know he is grateful for the 66 years of married life and is missing his life-long companion more than words can tell. For all of you who have lost loved ones, my hope is that, as you progress through these life transitions, you can feel and express your gratefulness for everything they brought into your lives.
At 2Young2Retire, gratefulness abounds. In addition to being grateful for all our family and friends we are grateful for the opportunity to serve those experiencing life’s transitions. I am also grateful for the kind thoughts, cards, and emails coming my way over the past few weeks and look forward to continuing our interactions. Happy Thanksgiving!
The news that CVS will stop selling cigarettes has been received with acclamation and at 2Young2Retire we enthusiastically join in the applause for their action. But there’s more! Here is what Larry Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Caremark, said: “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.” (CVS Caremark press release, February 5, 2014).
This reference to purpose was overlooked in much of the press yet, for me, this was an essential part of the message. The CVS purpose is, “Helping people on their path to better health.” Living life on purpose is vital for people inside and outside of organizations, for people of all ages, and particularly for those of us in the second half of life. I don’t know how much the work of the leaders and employees of CVS is consistent with their stated purpose but I was impressed by Larry Merlo’s reference to purpose in the press release. I will be watching to see how well CVS people live according to their purpose: “Helping people on their path to better health. It’s our purpose, our promise, our passion … every day.”
How have you described your purpose? How well are you living on purpose every day? What does purposeful aging mean to you?
Wherever you are on your journey of transitions, I hope you will find time during this Thanksgiving week here in the US to take a mindful transition pause. Many of us are experiencing or anticipating transitions in our careers and in our lives. These transitions are rarely easy and we can easily fall into a period of depression where we feel disconnected from our past, dissatisfied with the present, and uncertain about our future.
To avoid the mindless transition pause where we feel lost between two worlds, letting go of our past identity without knowing our true identity, or unable to replace the job we recently lost, it is time to become more focused, more intentional, and more purposeful about the future. A mindful transition pause is a time of reflection, letting go of the past to allow space for the future to emerge, a place for you to simply be, in preparation for what is to come. An excellent place to start this mindful transition pause is in the place of gratitude. Expressing gratitude for the past and for the present creates the space for a more conscious, purposeful, and fulfilling future.
My thanks to Madisyn Taylor for introducing me to the mindful transition pause in her inspirational daily OM (http://bit.ly/I2bwpN). Continuing in the spirit of gratefulness, thank you for reading this blog and thank you for your emails and calls. These connections help us at 2Young2Retire to help you, wherever you are on your journey.
I will end this post with a Quero Apache Prayer: “Looking behind I am filled with gratitude. Looking forward I am filled with vision. Looking upwards I am filled with strength. Looking within I discover peace.” I wish you a mindful, purposeful, and happy Thanksgiving!