Breaking Free in the Second Half of Life
"This is not a pre-retirement guide ...this book
is about finding freedom now."
Also the author of Put Work In Its Place and Working
Harder Isn't Working, Bruce O'Hara has been a leading thinker in
the movement to live simpler, but fuller lives.
In his latest book he does a good job of summarizing the
research in the field, presenting some irrefutable reasons for each of
us to do some hard thinking and act on our dreams, now.
For example, he states that:
- Between the ages of 50 and 65, 1/10 North American working women will
- Between the ages of 55 and 65, 1/6 North American working men will
- For a couple who are both 50, there is a 1/4 chance that one or both
will die before age 66.
Good reason for getting on with living the life you really want, today.
Fortunately, O'Hara does give us some guideposts for sorting through
and evaluating our personal piles of "stuff". In chapters titled:
The Insanity of the Overworld
Know Why You are Here - Finding Passion
Gather a Tribe
Get Bigger and Wilder
Handle Money with Simplicity
Put Work in its Place
Get a Life, Eh!
Invest in Vitality, and
Do It Together
...he offers plenty to think about and concrete strategies for making
it happen. He notes that people who age slowly and gracefully share four
- They take reasonable care of their health.
- They keep learning and challenging themselves mentally.
- They are well-connected in their communities, with friends of all
ages and they continue to make new friends.
- They have some sense of purpose or passion in life.
In short, successful agers are engaged, rather than retired.
As O'Hara puts it ...
"The fundamental choice any of us faces in the second half
of life - are we going to get bigger or are we going to get smaller.
Getting smaller is the default program for seniors in our society. It's
what will happen to you if you are not paying attention, if you fail
to choose something different. Our society makes it easy for older people
to retreat from life."
And as William Henry Channing in the poem, My Symphony, put
it more than 100 years ago:
“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather
than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable;
and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act
frankly; to listen to the stars and birds, to babes and sages; to bear
all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In a word,
to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, group up through the
common. This is my symphony."
Enough Already is published by New Star Books.