There is so much advice readily available from experts about how to live out the later years of our lives. I have seen different estimates of how long of a time we have left after say the traditional retirement age of 65. Wikipedia posted longevity charts from WHO and the UN that vary slightly. I noted that in poorer countries the life expectancy is much lower, closer to our traditional retirement age. So this third stage of life is a privilege of richer countries. And we are not all guaranteed those extra years.
One post I read said we should fill up our remaining years with giving back in volunteer work, others advice second acts, and new careers. I think this has to be a very individual decision. After all, it is the last years of YOUR life, not the experts lives. And you should be able to decide what to do with it and not feel guilty about it either. I liked this post by Dr. Bill Thomas, ( I know another expert), who says we are obsessed with this prolonged adulthood in our society that starts with trying to make adults out of our children when they’re still kids and ends with wanting to prolong middle age to forever because we think old age is terrible. Here is part of what he said:
“we find that older people are increasingly judged, and not according to the merits of age. Instead, the worth of an older person is determined by his or her ability to emulate a highly effective adult. People who still drive, still work, still run marathons and who still look, act and feel like young people are deemed to be successful. Those who can’t still do those things are… failures.”
I am in the process of looking at ageing and determining what I hope my remaining years to be. I have to look at my own abilities, passions, and limitations. I need to set my own course with what feels right to me. I have to know within myself that I have value even if I don’t run marathons, or look like my younger self.