How can the wisdom we’ve gained over a lifetime be applied for a greater purpose?

Story by Liz MArchi
At 64, I have decided to have an “encore career” by taking a position with www.youthentrepreneurs.org. Founded in 1991 in Kansas, the organization is scaling nationally, and I’m going to be part of that growth with a primary responsibility to bring it to Montana. It feels great.

I have struggled over the last few years with trying to overcome being a workaholic and married to one as well. Work has always been meaningful and enjoyable, and I really love being responsible for myself financially and sharing with others. I’m a learner and a reader, and I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to make positive change in my life and the world we live in. We may age, but our basic natures and the things we enjoy don’t really change. I will probably die asking someone a question!

There are endless senior publications and products: over 55 magazines with a slew of ads about medical equipment, retirement planning, retirement homes, in-home care, walkers, bathtubs with doors, wheelchairs, support hose, constipation products and stair lifts. While I may need all of these one day, I’m deliberately having another conversation. Besides, taking care of the soul is equally, if not more, important than taking care of the aging body it’s housed in.

We need to be having conversations about the wisdom and knowledge that we’ve gained in our lives. There is tremendous value in teaching, coaching, sharing and engaging with new people of all ages. How can that be applied for a greater purpose? In the precious years that are left, however many they may be, purpose matters most. There was a great piece in the Wall Street Journal recently about doing away with the Bucket List, the point being that seeing all the remote corners of the world, checking off the photo on the Great Wall, etc., really doesn’t add much meaning at the end of day.

This career will be different, and I’m happy to have a great partner. Having been the “leader, organizer, responsible party” for a lot of years, I appreciate and value a great partner, as I do in marriage. We know to our bones who is good at what. We know our tempos. I am grateful to have lived long enough to know what I’m good at and what I’m not (which doesn’t mean I don’t keep trying new things).

What’s our purpose? We want to give every Montana high school student a window into entrepreneurial thinking and problem-solving both for profit and for good, with foundational values of responsibility, strong principles, knowledge, freedom, passion, opportunity, sound judgment and a win-win focus. I’m particularly enjoying the bridge-building between business and education. Teachers are an amazing group of people, with a deep sense of purpose. If we take care of our teachers, they will take care of the future. As I do this work, this little one, my first grandchild, is always on my mind and in my heart. This, for me, is purpose.

Liz is fascinated by the various approaches to aging — from denial, to plastic surgery, to running marathons, to depression. Given our current demographics, Liz thinks there is a lot to explore, celebrate and learn from those living and aging in the Flathead Valley. Contact her at liz@lizmarchi.com.

MARQUEE PHOTO: “As I embark on my ‘encore career,’ this little one, my first grandchild, is always on my mind and in my heart.”