Author Archives: Paul Ward

About Paul Ward

Paul G. Ward is the Principal owner of 2Young2Retire.

Convening Conversation Circles

Solo Aging

An increasing number of people in later life are living alone. Solo aging, or solo living as we described it in our book, Midlife, New Life, may be a matter of choice or perhaps due to a change in personal circumstances resulting from the loss of a partner or another life-changing event. In the United States, more than 28% of the over 65’s, that’s nearly 14 million people, are living alone by choice or circumstance. This percentage has doubled in the past 60 years.

Sara Zeff Geber, author of Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, was the guest on a recent Global PIONeer 50/50 Online Conversation hosted by the Pass It On Network. We discussed the challenges of solo aging, including loneliness and isolation and concerns around who will take care of us and give us advice, especially when we are in a crisis or medical emergency. This is especially the case if you have no family safety net. Aging in the right place, the benefits of home sharing, and the importance of intergenerational connections and social networks were among the topics discussed.

At 2Young2Retire, we host regular conversation circles, mostly on Zoom. Some of our participants are living alone, and the conversation circles provide valuable connections helping to overcome some of the challenges of loneliness and isolation for solo agers. We create space for wonderful conversations, explore topics of shared interest, share wisdom and experience, and support each other on journeys of collaboration and transformation. For more information about these conversation circles, go to the Conscious Conversation Circles page.

Are you working for fulfillment or working for a living?

Working for Fulfillment

Are you working for fulfillment or working for a living? As we journey through midlife and beyond, work life transitions may be forced upon us due to the loss of a job, unexpected health issues, or family caring responsibilities. Alternatively, we may be ready to consider retirement from long term careers with a degree of financial security that allows us to shift from making a living to making a life. Wherever we are on this midlife journey, this can be a time for making conscious choices about our work life.

In our Midlife New Life Conversation Circle Mastermind program, we are approaching these important topics. Working for a Living and Working for Fulfillment are two chapters of the book, Midlife New Life – Living Consciously In Midlife and Beyond, that we are exploring in these virtual gatherings. We are living longer and working longer than previous generations. Can we begin to focus on working because we want to rather than working because we have to? Can we think of retirement as freedom to work rather than freedom from work?

Many of us have to work to pay the bills but maybe now is the time to develop a roadmap for the future, for working because we want to in midlife and later life. Begin to explore opportunities for encore careers in similar or different fields, entrepreneurial ventures, or volunteering. Entrepreneurial ventures may support doing what you want to do, doing what you can do; maybe making money and making a difference. What do you want to do? Take a moment to fantasize about appearing on the cover of a magazine: what magazine would it be, and what would the article be about? Who do you choose to be in midlife and beyond?

Living Blog Post Image


Living is my word for the new year. Living is one of those words that is typically followed or preceded by other words or phrases. Although inspired by the subtitle of our upcoming book, Midlife, New Life: Living Consciously in Midlife and Beyond, many positive words and phrases can precede or follow the word living: Living Well, Living Life Creatively, and Living with Technology, are all chapters in the book; other phases that may come to mind include living space, living wage, living things, living peacefully,  living the dream, or senior living, sustainable living, purposeful living, vibrant living, working for a living, or the philosophy of living. Living from the place of surrender, living in harmony, and living in hope all connect well to my words for previous years.

Living is the active word for the verb to live or the noun life, it is about being alive. This brought to my mind the words of Howard Thurman, “Ask what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” The new year offers new opportunities for being awake and alive, and for living intentionally.

Living is such a versatile word. What are the “living” phrases that come to your mind? How are you choosing to live? I invite you to bring attention to what you are noticing as you read this blog post and set an intention for how you will be living in the new year. Join me in living more consciously.

Rituals and Routines

Rituals was the theme for one of our recent conscious conversation circles on Zoom. Our conversation starter reminded us about the celebratory rituals we often associate with the religious ceremonies for weddings, births, and deaths, or ancient sacred ceremonies such as rites of passage, dedications, atonement and purification, oaths of allegiance, coronations, presidential inaugurations, and much more. Also, the personal preparatory rituals relating to our waking practices, bedtime practices, and so much more.

For our annual family holiday, we rent a big house for children, grandchildren and other family members to gather and spend a week together as a family. Although we create a relaxed atmosphere with very few rules, we require everyone to gather together for dinner each evening to enjoy the meal prepared by the family members responsible for that evening’s meal. One of our rituals is the moment before we begin eating where one of the children read words of gratitude for this precious family time, the meal and all those involved in its preparation, and to express hope for all members of the human family around the world. The children compete to be the day’s reader and all take their turn during the week.

Routines are not the same as rituals. Routines are regularly repeated actions like brushing teeth or eating dinner, whereas rituals often embrace a specific sense of meaning or purpose, and clearly establish valued membership of a group or circle. Gratitude, kindness, and generosity are often part of the ritual, demonstrating the caring and compassionate nature of those involved. Convening our conversation circles involves rituals and agreements that allow for deep meaningful conversations. If you would like to learn more about experiencing the rituals in our conversation circles, please reach out via the contact page on this web site.

Originally published on the Dr. Paul Ward Blog.

Harmony Image


Harmony is my word for the new year. The inspiration for selecting harmony as my word of the year has been the study of nonviolence with Michael Nagler, narrator of the film and author of the book The Third Harmony: Nonviolence and the New Story of Human Nature. I had considered nonviolence as my word of the year. Much has been written and spoken about the nonviolence inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, often focused on non-violent resistance, rejecting the use of physical violence in order to achieve social or political change. Nonviolence is much more than the absence of violence, it is more of a way of being. I am more of a writer and philosopher than an activist, and my desire this year is to be more conscious and purposeful about bringing harmony to every situation.

Tom Eddington, the executive producer of the film, The Third Harmony, joined Michael Nagler to host a wonderfully insightful ten-day program on nonviolence for Humanity Rising, an initiative of Ubiquity University. Founded in its original iteration by Matthew Fox, Ubiquity University has flourished under the leadership of Jim Garrison who launched Humanity Rising at the beginning of the pandemic to represent a global movement of people and organizations coming together to take counsel on how to start shaping the world beyond the pandemic through conversations that matter. A library of the recordings of the daily broadcasts that began during the  early days of the pandemic is an important component of a multitude of freely available resources and includes the ten-day program on nonviolence.

Now back to harmony. The three harmonies described by Michael Nagler in The Third Harmony: Nonviolence and the New Story of Human Nature are:

  • The First Harmony: Harmony with the cosmos and outer world.
  • The Second Harmony: Harmony with one another and with the environment.
  • The Third Harmony: Harmony within, radiating outward with the force of love.

Harmony within ourselves is where nonviolence begins. This aligns well with my own thinking on Conscious Leadership and the practice of leading consciously from the inside out. Imagining inner harmony brings to mind harmonious music, where different notes from different instruments are played together to create a beautiful sound. In my recent blog post, I wrote about Finding your Voice. Harmony is the word that will guide the finding of my voice, getting my outer voice in tune with my inner voice, and inspiring responsible action.

My commitment this year is to bring harmony into every situation I encounter.  As theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” What is bringing us alive? What is the music inside of each of us this year?

Evoking the words of Paul McCartney in the song, Ebony and Ivory, let’s aspire to live together in perfect harmony. Whether our attention this year is on nonviolent activism for the greater good of humanity or creating greater harmony in our families, workplaces, or communities, I invite us all to start with creating harmony within ourselves and then using the force of love to truly make a difference in the world. Let us all live in harmony within ourselves, with others, and with the world around us. Don’t die with the music still in you!

Originally published on the Dr. Paul Ward Blog.

Finding Your Voice

Finding Your Voice

Finding Your Voice was one of many themes we explored in our conversation circles this year. In these conversation circles, we discussed our physical voice, the outer voice we use for speaking, singing, and perhaps chanting; our inner voice, the internal monologue in our head that provides the words and images that reflect our thoughts and imaginings; and our figurative voice, our authentic voice, what we believe and what we truly stand for, the voice that is manifesting in our speaking and writing.

Thinking about the singing voice brings to mind my mother. As a teenager, long before I was born, she sang in the church choir. At home, while I was growing up, she was always singing. Singing while cooking or doing the dishes, or at anytime while working around the house or in the garden. She had a beautiful voice. I wonder now why we never recorded her singing. A missed opportunity!

As we come to the end of the year, many of us take time to reflect, celebrating our accomplishments, noting what went well and maybe what didn’t go as planned, thinking about what we learned, remembering the people who came into our lives and those who departed. Then, looking forward to the new year, thinking about our aspirations and setting intentions.

As readers of my blog posts may know, I select and share my word of the year. A word that represents my area of focus, a touchstone for my thinking, writing, and speaking in the year ahead. Emergence, surrender, and hope were the words of recent years. I am now in the process of selecting my word for the upcoming year, a word that may guide the finding of my voice, and inspire responsible action. I am reflecting on the following questions and invite us all to do the same: What do we stand for? Who will we be and how will we show up in the world? How will we find and use our individual voice and our collective voices in the coming year? I wish you success with finding your voice.

Originally published on the Dr. Paul Ward Blog.

Longing for Belonging Article Image

Longing for Belonging

The desire to belong is something we all experience. Beyond the use of the word belonging connected to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the desire for a greater sense of belonging is widespread and is a driver of our thoughts and actions. Are you longing for belonging?

In a recently published article, I focused on belonging with: belonging with ourselves, belonging with others, and belonging with our environments, rather than belonging to something. I identified five ways to satisfy our longing for belonging.

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Seeds of Consciousness

Seeds of Consciousness

Our conscious mind is small in comparison to our vast unconscious mind. This unconscious mind is part of what Thich Nhat Hanh referred to as store consciousness. Describing consciousness as like a house, Thich Nhat Hanh suggested that store consciousness is the basement and mind consciousness is our living room. Mind consciousness is our active awareness, our conscious mind. Store consciousness, sometimes called root consciousness, is in the lower levels of our consciousness. This is where all our past experiences are stored along with the seeds of our reactions to the triggers we experience every day. Although we may not be fully aware of what is in our store consciousness, we can influence the manifestation of its contents in the conscious mind.

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Hope Blog Post Image


Hope is my word for the new year. I am sometimes weighed down by pessimistic perspectives on life’s challenges. This year I want to turn this pessimism around, going beyond simple optimism, to real hope for the possibilities of the future. This hope is defined as the belief that our future will be better than today and we have the power to make it so. Ecophilosopher Joanna Macy uses the phrase active hope.

In research studies of hope by Charles Snyder (author of the compelling book, The Psychology of Hope: You Can Get There from Here, 1994) and more recently by Casey Gwinn and Chan Hellman (authors of Hope Rising: How the Science of Hope Can Change your Life, 2021), three components of hope have been revealed: goals, willpower, and waypower. Goals need to be aspirational and realistic, built on imagination and possibility, and a belief that the goals are achievable. We need multiple pathways to follow from the present time to the desired future, with alternatives for when the inevitable obstacles impede our progress. And we need confidence, energy, and willpower, sometimes referred to as agency, to sustain us as we move along these pathways towards our goals.

We may also need help and collaboration from others rather than trying to go it alone. “Together we can; together we will” is Dr. Jane Goodall’s rallying cry in her new book, The Book of Hope, written with Douglas Abrams. In her invitation to hope, Jane acknowledges that we are going through dark times but believes the hope for our world is much more than wishful thinking. My invitation is to begin a new journey of hope, or reinvigorate an existing journey, with two or three aspirational yet believable goals to make our future better than the present, and a belief that we have the pathways of possibility and the energy and willpower to make it so. I invite you to take positive steps on your journey of hope today.

Hope Blog Post originally published on website.

Is Buying A Home The Right Move Entering Your Golden Years?

After years of hard work, you’re finally at the time in your life when you can seriously start planning for what will happen when you can reduce the time spent working for a living. Every year, millions of people face the question of how to start planning for their later years. However, these years look different for everyone. Some may see themselves living in a vacation home. Others may choose to spend this time doing things they’ve always wanted to, such as traveling the world, climbing Kilimanjaro or motor racing. For those who never got to experience the lifestyle of being a homeowner, the golden years of their life may feel like the last chance before missing out on the experience altogether. But is buying a home as you enter your golden years actually a wise decision to make?

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