With the right insight and planning, we'll be able to merge what we most enjoy in our youth -- energy, freedom, flexibility, health, and personal growth -- with the good things that come with age, things such as experience, perspective, wisdom, and depth. One thing is clear: as our massive numbers ultimately catch the wave, the ripples will stretch far and wide.
Why are these becoming the power years? Here are seven reasons why the rest of your life has more potential than you may have considered:
1. We'll Be Living Longer and Healthier
In 1800, the average life expectancy was less than forty years. By 1900, when one in five babies didn't make it to their fifth birthday and common causes of death were diarrhea, influenza, pneumonia, and tuberculosis, life expectancy at birth was just forty-seven years.Thanks to advances in public health, nutrition, and wellness-oriented lifestyles, today the average lifetime has stretched to more than seventy-seven years in all of the modernized nations of the world. Japan has one of the highest expectancies: seventy-eight years for men and eighty-four for women, for an overall average of eighty-one years. The tiny nation of Andorra, squeezed between France and Spain, tops the world charts in this regard with newborn boys likely to reach eighty-one and newborn girls expected to make it to eighty-seven, for an overall average of eighty-four years. The United States is far down the list, with an overall life expectancy of seventy-seven -- behind Singapore (eighty-two), Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, and Italy (all of which have expected average life spans at birth of eighty years). If you've already made it to fifty, you can expect to live at least until your mid-eighties, and thanks to impending scientific breakthroughs, these numbers will keep increasing.
We will live longer and grow old later in life than any previous generation. Incredibly, two-thirds of all those who have made it to age sixty-five in the history of mankind are today walking the earth. We're not just living longer, we are also in better health and enjoy greater youthfulness and vitality.There are more fifty- and sixty-year-olds running marathons, buying Harleys, starting new careers, going to rock concerts, and getting facelifts than ever before. Our increasing longevity and good health, coupled with our natural desire to remain youthful, are the greatest forces behind the power years. But technology and modern medicine are playing vital roles as well. Impending miracle treatments could help us beat everything from arthritis to Alzheimer's, and the arrival of the information age is taking much of the physical toil out of work and other pursuits.
The upshot is that great numbers of people -- not just exceptions -- are able to work and play as they like far longer than anyone might have expected.
2. The Cyclic Lifeplan Will Replace the Outmoded Linear Model