Monday, January 28, 2008

Why Do So Many People Hate Today's Words?

What’s going on?

Having recently given presentations in Chicago, LA, San Antonio and New York, I have been struck by how vocal people have become about words they hate! Several years ago when we were researching ideas for Don’t Retire, REWIRE!, we heard rumblings about how many people disliked the word retirement. They didn’t like the image it evoked; they didn’t like the definition of the word and they couldn’t relate to it. We knew that our concept of rewiring would offer pre- and post-retirees an alternative way to think about and plan for their future. Although we created the term rewirement we realize now that we don’t care what people call their future life stage, we care more about how they live or “do” their future.

Now it seems that people dislike most words that have anything to do with aging! It’s like there is a rebellion going on. People have shot down the words-- Senior, elder, mid-life, older, mature…and the list goes on! When I started hearing people complain, it made me think about the first time someone said, “Thank you, “Ma'am! to me. All I could think was “What? Or the famous Robert De Niro line from Taxi Driver…”you talking to me?” I thought, “I’m still cool! How can you call me Ma'am?” It meant that that younger person, saw me as older, (notice I didn’t say old) and I was shocked.

AARP says that “60 is the new 40.” Studies cite people seeing themselves as 10 -12 years younger than they really are. So is it just boomers wanting to be younger? No. When a 90 year old woman told me that she volunteers and that her job is to take the blood pressure of the “old” people, I thought who is she talking about? She proudly said, “92 and 94 year olds!” This is not a boomer rebellion about certain words, this is broader and in the mind set of many. It was then that I discovered a great article in AGING TODAY, called WORDS TO AGE BY: A GUIDE ON STYLE AND USAGE. The link will take you to the November-December 2007 issue for at least another 3 weeks. Then it will be in "Back Issues" at the bottom of that page. When you get to the page, just scroll down to "Words to Age By." Although written for the media I think it is a good read for all of us!

So just to be safe if you see me on the street just yell out…Hey You! And I’ll answer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Vacations Can Be A Good Way To Rewire -- If Used Properly!

We went to India during the holidays. It was the first time that Rick, my co-author/husband and I, had been away from our families for Christmas, and the first time that we had ever traveled with a group let alone a group on a bus! The result was an unbelievable trip on every level and I thank TRAVCOA for that. As much as some of us want or even need to be in control, there is something to be said for turning control over to others and having them supply the structure and schedules. India is a very complex country; made up of extremes ( and trying to understand India’s beauty and poverty forced me to live in the moment or maybe I was just ready to live in the moment.

Although I carried a Global Blackberry with me, I did not allow it to intrude on my trip. I wasn’t beholden to it; yes the work I do allowed me that freedom but I realize that going forward I will use my Blackberry as tool of freedom not as a tool to tie me down. It’s a head shift, but one I need. Once I began to reflect on why the trip was so terrific, I realized that I had allowed all of my senses to become a part of the Indian experience. I totally immersed myself in all of the sights, smells and sounds of a very magical country.

During a dinner conversation on the third night of the trip, I made a comment and a fellow traveler asked, what do you do professionally? I thought for a minute, and said, “I’ll tell you in few days.” Rick was stunned but smiled. I didn’t want to talk about rewiring. I didn’t want to talk about retirement or pensions, or life planning, or the mature workforce. I was on holiday! Later in the week I told people about DON’T RETIRE, REWIRE! and about my speeches and audiences.

When I got back to New York I realized that I had desperately needed time off from talking about the future and about other people’s next acts. I had rewired my own energy and come back to work ready to rewire America but with a greater understanding of myself and the world around me.

Do you hink about how you use your vacations? Or more important, do you take vacations?

Whether you’re on vacation or just doing life, try living more in the moment. Let me tell you, it takes practice, but the benefits can be enormous.