A new year, and my birthday a few days away, does tend to make my thoughts go back over the past as well as worry about the future. At my age, I have to accept the future is a lot shorter than the past!
The benefits of entering this last period of your life is that you have hopefully learned by your mistakes, accept that you may never achieve all you had hoped for but become more tolerant (except to motorists who turn without signalling or to those who are cruel to animals!).
The downside is that some people over 50 do not look forward to the future. They lose enthusiasm for life. Ill health can handicap their enjoyment and restrict their activities. Yet, research has found the majority of people are enjoying an active, healthy life in their sixties, seventies and even 80s. Companies like Silver run by ex-media agency chief, Kim Walker have been trying to make firms in Asia understand that this group forms an important market. Men and women today are either choosing to work on past normal retiring age or leaving the company to enjoy a fulfilling life with adequate funds to spend on gadgets and travel.
The Singapore Government has been encouraging firms to keep workers past the current 62 year retiring age. Some employers unfortunately will only do so if they can cut the salary, intimating that older workers are less productive.
For many older people, even those above 40, the move into the digital age does indeed put them at a disadvantage compared to the younger folks who seem to be born with fingers and thumbs that Twitter at light speed. The new technology gives the youngsters an opportunity to feel superior to the older generation. But, ha, ha, the time is close when computers will respond to the spoken word. Maybe we’ll discover the older generation has better diction and a larger vocabulary, and they will once again be highly valued for their experience and knowledge.
Whatever our age, we must remain alert and curious. It is even more important at this period in history when changes in technology and society are so rapid. Mix new ideas with a depth of experience and you have a winning formula.
Age has taught me, it is probably unwise to go bungy jumping on my birthday but I am planning a white water rafting trip. It promises to be a bit like life itself – exhilarating with some fearful moments and the real chance you will regularly get dunked!