There is at bottom only one problem in the world and this is its name. How does one break through? How does one get into the open? How does one burst the cocoon and become a butterfly?
Powerful new conditions are emerging in America today that have the potential to transform retirement and later life as we know it. Indeed, changes are appearing much as they were lining up fifty years ago, on the eve of the "golden years."
Some of these important developments, including the budding movement of social entrepreneurs, have already been chronicled. But there are other promising signs as well. For example, the Wall Street Journal reports a sharp rise in the number of men in their fifties and sixties becoming physician's assistants, after first acts in far different fields. Most of the older students composing this phenomenon, the Journal asserts, are accommodating "an overriding desire to use their remaining years for society's good."
Perhaps the most visible sign of change afoot is the ascendance of a new group of high-profile role models, individuals who are rejecting through words and deeds the old notion of aging as disengagement. Lee Iacocca is one example. After retiring from Chrysler, Iacocca decided to "come clean' about the auto industry's record on pollution, recycling his skills and knowledge into developing environmentally sound electric bicycles that can go twenty miles without being recharged. In the process, the former CEO has missed few opportunities to use his own example to put forward the message "Don't retire!" He advises anyone over fifty: "Don't start planning your retirement -- plan the next third of life."
John Glenn's return to space in 1998, thirty-six years after his first journey,