Special Guest: Kay Strom, author of The Second-Half Adventure talks boomer power!

We have a special guest today! Kay Strom, author of the baby boomer book, The Second-Half Adventure: Don't Just Retire - Use Your Time, Skills & Resources to Change the World, is here with us today to talk about boomer power!

Boomer Power!
by Kay Marshall Strom

Inside every baby boomer zipping toward senior-dom is a thirty-five year old asking, “Hey, what happened?”

Life, that’s what.

We—who vowed to stay forever young, who promised never to trust anyone over thirty—are actually talking about retirement. Thing is, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way. And now, just as we’ve really become good at so many things, society suggests we hang up our useful lives.

Shows how little society understands boomers, doesn’t it?

For years I taught a class to really senior people (think 80s and 90s) called “Writing Your Life Story.” I always started a term with my micro-biography assignment: In 100 worlds or less, write the significance of your life. It was fascinating to see what people looking back at a lifetime of memories considered worthy of their one hundred words. Most of the men described the jobs they had held. Many of the women used their words to talk about their children.

I always smiled kindly and said, “This is all so interesting.” But then I handed the papers back and urged a rewrite. “I want you to tell me about you!” I said.

Most of my senior students seemed genuinely stymied. One time a woman wrote exactly one hundred words describing every one of her perceived faults and shortcomings, including the secretarial course she started in her twenties and never finished. Imagine vexing over that for more than half a century!

Then there was the dapper white-haired gentleman in his eighties, always jauntily dressed in a sport jacket and wool Scottish plaid tie. Charles was his name. He began his micro-biography this way: “At the age of sixty I got a retirement watch from the railroad and went to work as a free repairman for anybody who needed my help. That was when I became a person of significance.”

A wise man, that Charles! He is right, of course. Significance is not about success; it’s about consequence. It’s not what pads the checkbook; it’s what gives meaning to life.

Baby boomers have always stood out in their passion to change the world. That passion hasn’t changed; it has simply matured. Now, in their clear-eyed seasoned years, they are more determination than ever to give back, for they are realizing that significance truly is found beyond themselves and their own lives.

Many of us boomers are likely to live into our eighties or nineties. More than a few of us will blow out a hundred birthday candles. Yet, our days are numbered. And no one can reclaim the past. That’s why now is the time to rethink values and reset goals so that we will have a legacy of significance to leave to those coming along behind.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Never in their lives have baby boomers been willing to stay silent about things that matter to them. Why should they start doing do in their second half?

We have only just begun to show the power of our second half!

Kay Marshall Strom is the author of thirty-six published books, including her most recent, The Second-Half Adventure: Don’t Just Retire-Use Your Time, Skills & Resources to Change the World. Her writing credits also include magazine articles, short stories, prize-winning screenplays, booklets for writers, and anything else that will help make the house payments. Kay is an in-demand speaker at events throughout the country. She and her husband Dan Kline love to travel, so Kay encourages writing and speaking assignments in far- flung corners of the globe. To find out more about Kay, or for contact information, check her website at www.kaystrom.com.
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