Saturday, February 12, 2011

Never Too Late

So after a week of record low temperatures in the DFW metroplex, we are starting to thaw out. While the kids enjoyed five days off in two weeks, I was resigned to my home office, working until five and spending time every day writing at least six hundred words for my novel. And you know what? I did it. I know you're thinking, 'one week, not that impressive'. But having done a little research on the subject I have learned that good habits are formed in about three weeks. In other words, if you can commit to three weeks of making yourself do something consistently, you are on your way to changing your life. Of course we are going to break some. But make enough good habits a goal and there will be some you keep. It's never too late to start something new for yourself. And I don't care how old you are. Brett Favre is only seven years younger than me and he is/was/may be playing in the NFL! And I'm almost fifty. Although I have heard that fifty is the new black.

A friend of mine had dropped out of college and never returned. On the day of his fiftieth birthday he announced to a stunned room that had already been numbed by gallons of Jameson and red wine, that he was returning to college. His reasoning? In three years he was going to be fifty three, no matter what. That was a given. And he could either be a fifty three year old without a diploma, or a fifty three year old college graduate. Three years ago he graduated, taking advantage of a University that offered a program for working adults and he is now in a Graduate program for Human Resource Management. Which sure beats the hell out of his last job as manager at a warehouse. He'll be fifty six and starting an entirely new career. Or he could have been fifty six working at the warehouse. And I'm not knocking his last job. It paid him well enough to support a family of four. But he always had an emptiness inside him that needed to be filled. And he did it. And what's fascinating is to see the change in him and listen to the stories of other students older than him, doing the same thing.

My point to this story is, go after that dream you have. Don't make excuses, especially about being too old. Take a class, join a club, start a blog, write a short story or start walking a couple miles a day. You know that if you commit to just a mile a day you will have walked three hundred sixty five miles in one year? Think about that! Remember what I said at the beginning of all this? By the time I'm fifty, I will be able to call myself an author. I can tell people I wrote a book. Truth be told, I have no idea how good or bad it will be, but I'm going to do it. And by the way, I will be posting the first chapter on this site by the end of this month! It's not that I haven't finished the first chapter, it's just that I want to edit it and make it presentable. And who knows what after that? I have been going to the gym and working out, which is something I've been doing for years, but I was approached by a friend about participating in a sprint triathlon! Stay tuned for details.


  1. Love the story about your 53-yr old pal! The place the rubber meets the road, however, is when he will be seated across the desk from someone 18-years his junior, trying to convince this younger executive why he, at 56, is a good bet for employment when he is on the verge of actuarial-table-itis.

    In other words, the late 50s is when the body goes south; arthritis, back problems, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, carpal tunnel, feet problems...The list is long and expensive for employer health plans to absorb, making the 56-year old applicant a real deficit.

    This is why single-payer health care, with the government absorbing the pain of aging boomers and newly aging Gen Xers health care costs, makes dollars AND sense.

    If the Tea Partyers could look at this logically, instead of freaking out that a young, African-American (or Kenyan, as they wish) president was threatening to take away their money and give it to illegal immigrants (a specious argument, but low-info people are particularly susceptible to these), then they would see that slightly higher taxes will pay off dividends to them as they will actually be more viable to a) stay in the job market if they wish, b) have recourse for treatment instead of being subject to the whims of an insurance company mole, and c) not have to pay "hidden" taxes to make up for all the emergency treatment that illegal aliens and the uninsured pass on to us anyway.

    So, while I applaud your pal and your "follow your bliss" message, it is important to remember that we Boomers are shooting ourselves in the foot while our heads are in the sand, a very bad position in which to take aim because oftentimes, we end up shooting ourselves in the ass instead.

  2. While I do agree that our age is obviously a factor when we re-enter the workforce, let's face it, if we fixed the health care issue to perfection, it's always going to be more difficult for someone in their 50's to get a job. Health care over the past year has gone up 14% for employees and zero for employers. And for the past ten years, the cost of health care has risen by double digits. And regardless of who pays for it, me or the government, it's still going to be there and I'm not about to let that have any bearing on how I live my life. There will forever be leaders and parties in place that I agree with or that I disagree with. And regardless of how angry I am with their policies or how much I applaud them, I have to live with them. Some times I am going to have to pay more and some years I'm going to pay less. But I will continue to support and vote those I believe are best for our country.

    The biggest reason for middle age lay offs is salary and I say that having been an executive who had to go through a workforce reduction. Unfortunately the first to go are mid level managers. The reason they are often replaced is because there is someone who is willing to do the job for much less pay. Is it fair? Not necessarily but it's how business works. I have also hired much older candidates who I thought would add tremendous value and were worth every penny. I didn't think about health care or politics. And when it comes to hiring sales people, unfortunately employers are looking for good looking, energetic people and that typically describes a younger generation. But I also know that younger workers tend to be more transient, gaining knowledge and skills at a workplace before moving on to the next job. And knowing that it takes nearly $14,000 to hire and train someone, that's a much bigger factor than my health care costs going up.

    And while my 53 year old friend will have a tougher time entering the work force, I believe it will be more a choice of what he is willing to do and for how much money. But what happens if he had been laid off while senior management looked for someone willing to take a lower salary? He would be looking for work without a degree, making himself even less attractive to employers.

    I have many friends in the Boomer generation with vastly different views on politics who think the other side has their head in the sand. But at the end of the day, they are thankful that we live in the greatest country in the world that allows us opportunities no other country can, regardless of age. And as Lincoln once said, "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."