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The Coming Demographic Revolution

| May 30, 2011

We are living in challenging times. That much is clear. What may not be as clear is that a number of the issues we face are being exacerbated by a single cause. Our world population is aging. Yes at an astounding rate and in unprecedented numbers people are joining the over 50 crowd and the implications for all of us are staggering. In this article, George and Sedena Cappannelli, co-founders of AgeNation and experts on individual, organizational and societal change provide us with some valuable perspectives on this brave new world. It is an essential part of the AgeNation mission to bring you the very best and most relevant information and experience to help you deal with the challenges and take advantage of the remarkable opportunities that lie ahead.


A Transitions Commentary By: George & Sedena Cappannelli

We are on the edge of one of the greatest social, cultural, economic and demographic revolutions in history.  Over the course of the next few decades a significant percentage of the U.S. population – by some estimates that number will be 50% or more – and a large percentage of the world population will be over 50 years of age for the first time in history. In short, our world is aging and, according to many who study the subject, much more rapidly then originally thought.  These same experts now agree that “this trend will not reverse itself anytime in the foreseeable future.”

Couple this fact with dramatic changes, we will not suggest that are all advances, in science, technological and digital communications, increasing longevity, declining birth rates and a shrinking tax base and the implications are astounding.  No, they are more than astounding, they are deeply troubling and also remarkable. And not just for those of us who are 50 and older. These implications will reshape the world for younger generations and for all of those who will come after them as well.

This coming social, political, economic and demographic tsunami is one of the reasons AgeNation has come into being. Indeed, we believe it is not only valuable and important, but essential that all of us better understand the implications of this brave new world, revisit and, where necessary, redefine our personal values, consider new and different priorities, learn new skills, experiment with better use of our available resources and, above all, learn to live more consciously and age more wisely.  And this number also includes those of us who still believe that getting older is something that is a long way off as well as those of us who are already in the second half of life – and for the record, based on longevity statistics, that is everyone who is over 37 years of age.

What is conscious living and wise aging?

For more than twenty five years we have been privileged to work in the fields of individual, organizational and societal change with some of the world’s leading organizations, the people who lead them, a number of world leaders and many thousands of people in the general public.   As a result this experience we have come to believe that people who live most successfully are those who also live life most consciously. They take the time to harvest the lessons and wisdom of their experience. They welcome and collaborate with the changes that are a natural part of existence. They accept both the challenges and opportunities of the present moment; and they invest their time, energy and resources in learning new skills, proactively caring for their well-being, developing and maintaining healthy relationships, sharing what they know with others and caring about the environment in with they live.  In short, creating more aligned, awake, positive futures.

How? Although the paths they take are as varied as their numbers, most of the strategies they pursue tend include some version of this simple three part formula.  They:

• Identify what does not work and do less of that.
• Identify what does work and do more of that.
• Willing try new things.

Indeed, for those who chose to live consciously and age wisely, life is an adventure and, most particularly, a continuous learning experience. As a result they are constantly refining their skills, increasing their competencies and exploring new talents. They are available to new experiences, new ideas and new people. They also recognize that the investment they make today in exercise, diet, and in creating a balance between their emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs will bring them a significant return tomorrow. In short, people who live consciously and age wisely realize that the future is not accident, not something that happens to them. Instead they understand that the quality of life they will lead tomorrow is the result of the way they lived yesterday and the way they will live today.

Nuts and Bolts

What else do these people do to lead more productive, engaged and successful lives? They listen to the urgings of their hearts and, most important, they follow them. Consequently what they do in the world matters to them and they way they do this thing and the values they demonstrate are of major importance. They also tend to be more passionate, energetic and committed to making a difference than their counterparts. In fact, Daniel Quinn, the author of the transformational novel, Ishmael, calls them “leavers”. According to Quinn, humanity seems to be divided into those who believe they live in a cooperative, interdependent universe and who know that their efforts can make things better (the leavers) and those who do not believe any or all of this.  These he calls ‘the takers’. ‘Leavers’ focus beyond the small ‘i’ on the well being of the whole while the ‘takers’ tend to go through life by the numbers, taking up space and using up resources not paying much attention to the well being of others or of their environment.

In addition, ‘leavers’, those who we believe seek to live consciously and age wisely do not waste their time or energy denying the aging process and clinging futilely and egotistically to some false illusion of youth. Instead they accept, even if they do not always welcome, the inevitable stages of life. This does not, of course, mean that they throw in the towel or stop paying attention to their well-being. If anything, we have found that those who live consciously and age wisely are very mindful of what they can do to improve the quality of their life.
Are You Living The Life You Were Born To Live?

How do you know if you are living the life you were born to life and what you can do to improve the quality of your life?  Here are a just a few criteria that we have identified through a multi-year, national study among those who are living most successfully in the second half of life. Incidentally, if you are reading these words and assume that the ‘second half of life’ applies primarily to other people, you know “older people,” pleased keep reminding yourself that the second half of life actually begins at about 37 years of age.
So here is are some of the criteria and, if you would like more detail, you will find a link at the end of this posting that will bring you to a free, self-scoring Conscious Living and Wise Aging IQ test.

So you are Living Consciously and Aging Wisely if…

• You are curious about and engaged in life.
• You take responsibility for your own thoughts, words and actions.
• You are accountable for your own well-being.
• You believe your tomorrow depends on the choices you make today.
• You have the courage to live the life you were born to live,
• You follow your heart, pay attention to your dreams, and use your talents,
• You continually learn and expand your abilities.
• You admit your frailties and identify your unlearned lessons
• You are open to experimenting with new attitudes and new practices.
• You are willing to take risks and let go of what does not work.
• You let go of what is familiar and comfortable for the sake of new discoveries.
• You see the challenges and changes as natural and unavoidable parts of life.
• You are a responsible steward of the environment.
• You value collaboration, cooperation, and interdependence
• You love your fellow beings and seek their best and highest good.
• You are trust your inner wisdom and act in accordance with it.
If you are interested in learning how you can incorporate these values and practices more fully into your life, then explore the many things AgeNation has to offer you. If you are not yet convinced of the value of living consciously and aging wisely, we invite you to continue exploring the incredible wealth of information and experience your life brings you. We are confident you will be very glad you did.

George and Sedena Cappannelli are co-founders of AgeNation. They are also authors – Say Yes To Change, Authenticity, and their new book, Do Not Go Quietly, A Guide To Living Consciously and Aging Wisely In The 21st Century. For more information on this topic and their work visit: www.AgeNation.com.

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Category: Life Transitions

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