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  • Diane L. Dunton

Career Change at 81?


I picked up the phone to wish my 81-year-young aunt and mentor a happy birthday. Though she lives in another state and we do not get to see each other very often, Aunt Glo has guided me over the years, both personally and professionally. Her career spans decades with early years in urban renewal.

For the last two years Glo has been working for an engraving company. During our call she shared that the engraving business will need to be sold due to the owner’s health issues. As she explained her efforts to locate a buyer, I thought, Well, maybe now she will retire. Not Glo! Though it should have come as no surprise to me, her next words were, “Maybe I will buy the business? Or, wait! Maybe I will consider a career change!”

Many of us look forward to retirement, yet I see now that “retire” is nowhere in Aunt Glo’s vocabulary. To “retire” suggests a withdrawal period, an ending. Well beyond reaching what most would consider retirement age, Glo hasn’t slowed down. She remains active and engaged, working tirelessly on a Festival of Lights and other events in her community and forming a nonprofit with a local physician to assist children who need special eye care. With Glo, an ending just signals a new beginning.

I think about how challenging change can be at any age and marvel at my aunt’s flexibility and irrepressible enthusiasm for what might be. Because she has chosen to live her life as a series of beginnings rather than endings, Glo is always moving toward something – engaging, creating, and involved with the people and world around her.

Career Change at 81? Anything is possible. What are you waiting for?

#aging #careerassessment #challenge #lifestages #creativity #involvement #retirement #secondact #newcareerpath #careerchange #community

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