Living large in your 70s

A lot of people are living past the biblical “three score and ten” years these days and this opens up a lot of possibilities with a few problems thrown into the mix. I have a fifteen-week project running to explore the ways that people can prepare for and live into their seventies (and beyond) to make it a decade of achievement and fulfillment, even with reduced energy and other things that happen.

My project is to motivate some other people to be involved so it becomes a team-building project with a core of helpers producing a range activities. These will include focus groups to discuss the kind of things that can be done individually and by groups and institutions to enhance the experience of the 70s. Another strand will be workshops run by consultants along ontological lines (way of being) to generate insights and practices which generate balance and harmony across all areas of life – health, fitness, intellectual and cultural interests, travel, family and friends and spirituality.

I am involved in this as a coach in a Self Expression and Leadership Program run by Landmark in Sydney. I coach a small group of people and they all have projects of their own.

For example a woman is working as a financial consultant with small businesses. Her project addresses the situation where a very high proportion of small business owners fail or alternatively stagger to retirement and proceed to Centrelink because they never did well enough to avoid the pension in old age. Her project is to encourage entreprenneurs to be alert to the pitfalls if the business is not thriving and be prepared to change direction or get out smartly if things are not working.

A young man of Middle Eastern descent supports the Canberra Raiders and his project is to build the support base of Canberra and the NRL in his part of western Sydney and especially among his friends and relations to promote integration.

A middle-aged lady has taken on making connections in her family around the world. After a busy life focussed on her immediate family, working and home-making, she discovered that different branches of her family have lost contact and her mission is to rally her generation to get the cousins in touch with each other before the possibility is lost.

Sometimes theses projects function mainly to develop the people in the course but over the years many have taken on a life of their own, like the R U OK program and a large number of charitable, educational and community development programs worldwide.

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29 Responses to Living large in your 70s

  1. Ah, the cult that isn’t! Did the Forum and a seminar series, but I won’t go back because the cultlike sales behaviour embarrasses me too much.

    However, it delivers what it says on the box.

  2. rickw

    I come from a farming background:

    No one retires, you just do more of what you like and can, less of what you don’t like and can’t, you keep doing this until one day you can’t do any of either.

  3. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    No one retires, you just do more of what you like and can, less of what you don’t like and can’t, you keep doing this until one day you can’t do any of either.

    Which leads to the “forty year old jackeroo” syndrome. Dad makes the big decisions until he’s into his seventies, Mum controls the chequebook until she’s into her seventies, and the “boys”, are the “forty year old jackeroo’s” about the place, or leave to “start their own place.”

  4. Mat

    Get out Rafe – don’t do that again.

  5. Rabz

    Best of luck with this, ol’ boy – you’ll no doubt end up eventually being involved in a similar project for peoples in their 80s.

  6. Combine Dave

    “Aw, Dad, you’ve done a lot of great things, but you’re a very old man, and old people are useless. –Homer Simpson”

  7. C.L.

    The amazing Rafe Champion.
    Good luck with this new endeavour, Rafe.
    Your group is lucky to have you as coach.

  8. min

    Rafe have you ever heard of the University of the Third Age? A world wide organisation that was originally started in France in the 70’s for retired people who because of war had missed out on an education. I am a member of U3A Hawthorn we have 1400 members run 90 classes from Art , Languages including Latin , Philosophy and Current Affairs . We have walking and cycling groups and jazz and
    Old dancing. If you are ever in Melbourne on a Wednesday I would love you to come to talk to our Current Affairs group of about 50 average age late 70’s .
    I also do Italian Conversation and a Philosophy class called Thoughts and Ideas.

  9. Gab

    You are awesome, Rafe! xx

  10. stackja

    ASCCA is the national peak body for seniors and technology
    Our mission is to assist clubs to educate seniors in using computer technology to enrich their lives and make them more self-reliant.
    We bridge the generation gap and assist seniors to benefit the community through their collective experience and knowledge.
    ASCCA was formed on 7 August 1998 and became an incorporated association on 14 August 1998. It became a not for profit company limited by guarantee on 21 August 2001

    Nan Bosler
    ASCCA Board Members
    Nan Bosler – President

  11. Ronaldo

    Some years ago I saw a wonderful photo of the Box Hill Over 90s group of about a dozen ladies (no men) in my dentist’s surgery. Their motto: ‘We see ourselves as role models for people in their 80s’.

  12. P

    I am involved in this as a coach in a Self Expression and Leadership Program run by Landmark in Sydney. I coach a small group of people and they all have projects of their own.

    I believe that you are a giver Rafe. In whatever you are involved in you will continue to give and many will benefit from your giving.
    If Landmark is that which you wish to forward, then go for it. It has I know, at least short term, helped many.

  13. Perth Trader

    ‘Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it again’..author unknown.

  14. P

    ‘Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it again’..author unknown.

    Yea!

    the legendary “three score and ten” years

    I am six years past that milestone.

  15. Herodotus

    You can have a range of hobbies and interests, or get into some community service activities. But do not stop. Transitioning from full-time to part time and then to those various other things is the key. And giving time and appreciaition to the missus who has stood with you through all the hard working years.
    That’s before we get to the expanding tribe of grandchildren, although that too comes under the heading of indulging she who has made your life richer by far.

  16. rickw

    Which leads to the “forty year old jackeroo” syndrome. Dad makes the big decisions until he’s into his seventies, Mum controls the chequebook until she’s into her seventies, and the “boys”, are the “forty year old jackeroo’s” about the place, or leave to “start their own place.”

    Not if the parents understand the need for a timely transition. This leaves Grandma and Grandpa to potter around doing what pleases them most.

    As my brother (running the farm) said recently (of Dad), “I don’t really know what he’s doing, but he’s bloody busy!”.

  17. Rafe Champion

    Good call min, the U3A is very strong in some places like Hobart where they have good facilities which are easily accessible. It is functioning in parts of Sydney and I expected to be involved but when I retired I had too many other things to do!

    I will be delighted to come to your group in Melbourne if I am down there.

  18. Stimpson J. Cat

    It’s important to have a good relationship with your parents.
    As I’ve told them many times:
    “Be nice, keep me in the will, and I’ll change your p?ssbag.”

  19. Stimpson J. Cat

    Another strand will be workshops run by consultants along ontological lines (way of being) to generate insights and practices which generate balance and harmony across all areas of life

    Or as I call it, a walking stick with a yin yang symbol.

  20. Mique

    Turning 76, I find that life’s far too short to do anything that interrupts my reading. Too many books, too little time.

  21. Roger

    In the interest of literacy:

    Three score and ten is not “legendary”, it is Biblical: Psalm 90.

    From whence, in English translation, Shakespeare incorporated it into Macbeth, both reflecting and contributing to its proverbial status.

  22. Mique

    From whence, in English translation, Shakespeare incorporated it into Macbeth, both reflecting and contributing to its proverbial status.

    Ahem, Roger, if we’re going to be pedantic, “From” is redundant.

  23. JohnA

    Mique #1993125, posted on April 2, 2016 at 2:17 am

    From whence, in English translation, Shakespeare incorporated it into Macbeth, both reflecting and contributing to its proverbial status.

    Ahem, Roger, if we’re going to be pedantic, “From” is redundant.

    And in the spirit of contextual quoting and high-level pedantry here is the passage at Ps 90:10:

    Our days may come to seventy years, [the three-score years and ten in Elizabethan English]
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
    yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

    It’s a lament rather than a celebration of the years.

  24. calli

    Thanks, John A. No pedantry there.

    We are as fleeting as the flowers, so enjoy every single day as if it was your last. Retirement can’t come fast enough for me, I have half a dozen projects on hold and ready to go.

  25. Botswana O'Hooligan

    rickw

    #1992864, posted on April 1, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    I come from a farming background:

    “No one retires, you just do more of what you like and can, less of what you don’t like and can’t, you keep doing this until one day you can’t do any of either.”

    Our mob usually work until they are in their middle seventies, even later if they have been running a farm or property, and then sort of “fade away” by their middle nineties and check out in their sleep. Now in my middle seventies I am about to retire and will probably do the same, and like the rest of my family would never think about joining some group led by one of the usual suspects suggested by Rafe because most of them are convinced that they know better than everyone on any and all subjects so I will take up a part time evening hobby of converting alcohol into urine whilst pondering gravity and the Coriolis force acting on a flat Earth.

  26. old bloke

    Roger
    #1993073, posted on April 2, 2016 at 12:17 am
    In the interest of literacy:

    Three score and ten is not “legendary”, it is Biblical: Psalm 90.

    Exodus 20:12 suggests extra years if you look after your Mum and Dad. I’ll have to remind my children of that verse.

    Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

  27. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Not if the parents understand the need for a timely transition. This leaves Grandma and Grandpa to potter around doing what pleases them most.

    My observations and experience are that this is so in about half of all the transitions I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen three cases where “the boys came home”, making a career change, only to find themselves with Dad still making all the big decisions and Mum still controlling the chequebook, and the split that followed.

  28. iain russell

    More red wine, more swimming, more intimate moments – everyone’s a winner!

  29. one old bruce

    You ought to just make it clear that people won’t be drawn into a Werner Erhard inner circle. Hopefully that is the case.

    It sounds fine but I have learned to be wary, Rafe. Anything with links to 70s cults like The Forum will forever be suspect, so it’s best to deal with that up front.

    It’s some sort of inescapable paradox that a lot of the energy people have for public participation has come from various cultish groupings: religious, political and self-help. I’m sure Karl Popper says something about that.

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