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is often because they don’t understand that
there’s so much potential at 45, 56 or 60. We’ve
got another 25 or 30 years to really be vital.
The question is, how do I take this anxiety,
which is a reflection of my inner searching,
and create something from it that is what I
consider a life well lived?
Are you talking about transforming your life
into one of greater meaning? I think at this
stage of life we gravitate toward not accepting
anything less than a true connection to our
work and the people we spend time with. We’re
less willing to put up with things. People report
that they feel like things need to change. We’re
more willing to say, “You know what? In the
past, I was living small. But I can be bigger. I
can be happier. My life can be richer.” Part of
that, for a lot of people, is about making the
world a better place. And that’s what gets me
excited about this work, helping middlescents
live a life of connection, meaning and purpose.
And I want to make it clear that this is some-
thing that anyone can achieve, regardless of
income status. Every kid goes through adoles-
cence, whether they have money or not.
What about ageism? That’s a big stumbling
block. We’re suffering a cultural lag. People still
think of 60 as old. The whole basis of 65 being a
senior citizen was because Social Security was
enacted in 1935, when our life expectancy was
57. We need to reframe what aging looks like in
the country now. Simply put, ageism is bad for
business in every respect.
How does all this apply to your own life?
I’ve been working and building to this point
for years as a coach and gerontologist. But
now that I’ve launched my three children and
they’re squarely out of the house, I have the
capacity to fully immerse myself in launching
this really innovative and important contribution. I wouldn’t have had the bandwidth
before. If I lived according to the old rules, I
would already be past my prime. But now, at
54, I feel like I’m just getting going. m
Marin Magazine readers can download a free
version of Waxman’s e-book The Middlescence
Manifesto: Igniting the Passion of Midlife.