That's what propelled me to write LEAP! I wanted to learn how others are coping, what strategies they're inventing, and what it feels like to do the next years well. I interviewed more than 200 from all parts of the country who are grappling
with the question: What's the next part of life about? We may have
30 more years of vigorous health, lust, and a desire to contribute
What I discovered was that everyone must go through the narrowseven if it's only on
the physcial level. Maybe your knees or hips wear down, or you find
you cant drink as much and stay out late without paying.
Youre compelled to shift gears, and you wont come out
unchanged. Like the insect in the cocoon, youll be turned to
soup and reforged, but it wont be sudden and complete like the
butterfly emerging with new wings. This morphosis is ongoing.
Tom Hayden, the Sixties activist, says he had a "shattering
transition" to this time of life. After 18 years in the California
legislature, he lost a municipal election to a man half his age, suffered
heart failure and had a quintuple bypass, followed by depression.
Now he's forging a new role, teaching and inspiring young people to
work in politics. "We can be freer now than weve been since
we were 20" he says. "We may have 30 more years to give
the system hell!
What happens to love, and sex? How can women not become touch-deprived
if they outnumber men and aren't gay? What if your partner leaves
or dies? Will we keep coupling and recoupling?
Boomers will handle this transition as they have handled everything
else. We proceed as if no one has ever gone through it before, even
though we know they have. We do research, we experiment and learn
from each other. Most of us don't want or can't afford to move to the Sun Belt, buy an RV, or just play golf and fish.
We want to follow our own lights as never before, and we will forge
a different way.
Topics I Cover:
Take the Quiz - Ready or Not?
I had a major birthday recently, and my friend Joan
Borysenko sent me a list of questions to answer, to clarify what I
wish from the years ahead. Try answering them yourself.
Complete the following sentences:
I realize life is both precious and short. When the angel death comes
to my door, I will be ready to go because...
The thing I will miss most when life is over is...
I have finished with... (name both good things and difficulties)
I still yearn to...
In the years to come, I will be grateful for...