Hi friends. Welcome to this week’s edition of Soul Food.

The late Peter Drucker was one of the first people to note that 100 years ago, most people only lived till around the age of 50. Nowadays, people are living into their 90s and many to 100 and beyond. It’s like we’re the first generation to have two halves of life – and we are totally unprepared for it. 

If you’re 50 years of age, you may have already had 30 years of vocational contribution (your first half) and you could still have another 30 years ahead of you (your second half).

Of course, the old 3-stage model of life – (1) education, (2) vocation, then (3) retirement – just doesn’t work anymore. If you look to finish working in your mid-60s, then that’s a potential loooong retirement period – doing what? 

Nowadays, most people will have multiple jobs and/or vocations throughout their lifetime. So the stages of life will probably go from Education to Vocation 1, to possibly some up-skilling and more Education before Vocation 2, then extending our contribution late into life through part time or extended voluntary work before full retirement. 

So where are you in your journey of life? 

If you’re in your mid to late 40s OR early 50s, there is a huge benefit in scheduling a planned ‘halftime’. 

In any sports game, halftime is an opportunity to pause … to catch your breath, then to look back on the first half and think about how things are going. What’s going well that you want to continue into the second half? What’s not going so well that you want to change? Most of the time, we don’t want to let the second half simply be a repeat of the first. We want to make some adjustments. 

In the game of life, the first half is often a time when we focus on success – whatever that may mean for us. In the second half, many people want to make a shift to significance. Our values often change, as does what has meaning for us.

Of course, you don’t have to wait until middle age to choose to live a life of significance. Success and significance can work together, as long as we have thought deeply about what truly matters to us – beyond the noisy chatter of the culture we live in. 

Don’t keep living your life without even thinking about it, stuck on ‘auto pilot’. Maybe it’s time to schedule some extended time aside by yourself – take a retreat. Have a halftime. You’ll be glad you did!

Let’s recap our main points:

  1. We are one of the first generations to live long enough to have two halves of life.
  2. The old 3-stage model of life – education, vocation, retirement – needs to be re-thought.
  3. Everyone, no matter what age, benefits from taking a ‘halftime’ to pause and evaluate their life.
  4. Choose to focus on living a life of ‘significance’, not merely a ‘successful’ one. 

That’s all for today. See you next week.

You can watch a video of this episode on the Soul Food YouTube channel.

See also my BLOG post on “Is Our View of Retirement Still Working?“, as well as Bob Buford’s best-selling book Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance which discusses the concept of ‘halftime’ in-depth, or visit the Halftime Australia website for even more resources.

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