By Graeme Gordon, Executive Director of Praxity
From post-millennials to pensioners, it’s what you contribute that matters
Today, as I write, is my 65th Birthday. “How, on God’s Green Earth am I 65?”, I ask myself. My wife gave me a birthday card reminding me 65 in Fahrenheit is 18 in Celsius, and it’s true, there is definitely an 18-year-old me inside my brain at times.
I intend, if the good Lord allows, to spend another 65 years on the planet. But in today’s era of living longer and healthier diets what has age got to do with anything?
I still feel like the 22-year-old who played senior rugby. Often, I admit I feel like I did after a really bruising match, but still I’m upright, have all my wits and limbs, and can still do most of the physical things I could do when I was younger.
What has changed is the depth of my knowledge and, I sincerely hope, my level of understanding.
The problem with age
In today’s environment, chronological age, mental age and physical ages are all very different than in the past. When I was 22, the age of 65 was the day you retired and became a pensioner. Even in my parent’s generation there was a cut-off to retirement at 60 or 65.
Not now and certainly not for this 65-year-old. Apart from the fact the UK government has changed the rules so I cannot claim my state pension for another year, I have never considered retirement as an option for me. And, I believe this might be true for most of my generation and those following.
One of my grandfathers stopped work at 65 and was dead within 18 months. True he pottered in the garden but I think he basically gave up. Having been mentally and physically active all his working life, retiring to tender his garden was not a good move for him.
Why value is more important
Today, 65 is a green light for work and leisure. I fully recognise that I will not hold my present role as Executive Director of Praxity Global Alliance until I leave “in a pine box”, or anything as silly as that. Apart from anything else, I am so proud of how my team and I have developed Praxity that I want only what’s best for the team and the Alliance itself.
For me, reaching 65 presents an opportunity to:
- Get some fresh thinking at the helm in due course to add value to Praxity
- Enter a new, exciting phase of my life where I can add value in another capacity
So, what’s my message? Don’t judge someone by their age. We can all add value and whatever century we were born in we all deserve to be listened to.
Younger generations can often see advantages or opportunities those more senior in years cannot. Equally, older generations can often assess issues and find solutions more easily than those younger than themselves because of their experience.
“You’re only as old as you feel”, is a well-used euphemism, but like all such phrases, there is more than a grain of truth therein. So, if you have to judge an individual, look at what they can do and have done, not when they were born.