By Kevin Brown | Bio
This week I have been having discussions with several of my friends and business associates concerning the apparent absence of choice as we are nearing retirement. It seems that for some people, there appears to be no choice but to remain with their current employer in a job they no longer find satisfaction in due to an anticipated financial loss associated with pension and health benefits. For many, this realization has them feeling like they have no choice in the matter.
I have also noticed a similar view held by folks in the second half of their career, who are in their mid to late forties. They already have a sense of this apparent lack of choice, working in jobs they do not find satisfying and holding the view that they have few, if any, real options. They have mortgages to pay, a family to provide for, and the risk of changing jobs in this economic downturn just reinforces their apparent absence of choice.
Do our actions, as a result of this deeply held belief, impact how we will experience aging as we enter our fifties, sixties, and beyond? Might this perceived absence of choice, if not confronted, place limits on our experience of aging? What can we do now, regardless of our age, to lay the groundwork for a future full of choice? Could we create for ourselves an experience of aging in which there are endless possibilities, with freedom and fulfillment a natural by-product?
At the Eldering Institute, we hold the vision of living life as a possibility. Choice and possibility appear to me to go hand in hand. When we consciously choose how we relate to our circumstances, we allow for what is possible to come into our view. Even when life throws us a curve ball, we can choose to play the game and hit the ball as pitched or wait until the game of life occurs the way we would like it to occur. One response places us actively in the game of life: the other has us on the sidelines waiting for just the right conditions to arrive.
We cannot change the circumstances of our lives. But could it be that we have choice about how we relate to everything in our lives? Take the employee who believes he cannot change jobs so late in his or her career and is experiencing a loss of power, freedom and possibility. They may feel trapped if the financial loss of leaving without another job to go to is a compelling reason to remain with the current employer. What if they simply accepted that they need an income and are, at the moment, choosing to remain with their current employer. Choosing gives them space to create a new possibility for themselves—perhaps a new game for themselves at work in which power, freedom, and fulfillment are present or perhaps new relationships to their career and money.
What might be possible in your future if you were to play with the idea that you are always at choice in all areas of your life each and every day?
© 2009 Kevin Brown. All rights reserved.