I’ve consciously just entered the last quarter of my life aged 63 - so what now?
As with financial years and sports games, life itself can be divided into quarters. If so, I’ve just entered the last quarter of mine when last week I turned 63.
There’s no trepidation or fear. It’s just a number, but given the Beatles song "When I’m Sixty-four" and the pension age now north of 65, the mid-sixties might just prove to be significant.
I looked up my life expectancy on an ABS tool which you can see here, which gives my ‘predicted death date’ as April 28 2042, so just another 21.2 years to go!
Given my statistical life expectancy is 84 years, I’ve taken the advice of a friend and divided my life into quarters. It could be any fraction but quarters, rather like the moon’s phases, seem to make sense.
My first quarter to age 21 involved all the obvious learnings and transitions from childhood. The second to age 42, the focus on work and exploration and belatedly making a home and starting a family.
The third seems to have gone very quickly and was about raising the kids and feeling accomplishment in life and its labours. If I have one fear, it’s that the last will whizz by faster than any of the others.
Your divisions may be similar or completely different. Yet I’ll bet you could still divide most complete lives into quarters and find some structure and direction you mightn’t know was there.
So having begun the last quarter, how is the game to play out? Is it about staggering, exhausted and burned out, to the final whistle? Or hoping for extra time to make the winning score?
Naturally, I don’t have any simple answers. Only the belief that the last quarter can be the most satisfying and meaningful of our lives if we so choose. Research amongst older people suggests as much.
Of course, we remain vulnerable to uncertainty regarding health and wealth and relationships and everything else meaningful. Also, we have less time left for recovery.
Yet, there are also many ways to reduce the risk of loss and increase the likelihood of positive change and growth. Advances in medicine and healthier practices mean we are living longer, as are many of our parents.
Paul McCartney wrote "When I’m Sixty-four" in 1958 as a smart Liverpudlian sixteen-year-old to whom being in your mid-sixties must have seemed ancient.
Sir Paul, now aged 78 and worth some $1.5 billion, is living proof of the revolution which has taken place even in his lifetime.
We can’t all measure up to his achievements, but our last quarters aren’t the time to give up when there’s further to go and more to enjoy.
I’m, of course, hoping as ever for extra time and good health and fortune, but such nice things do not happen automatically. They take effort, insight, hope, resilience and a little bit of luck.
There are many guides to navigating this new age cohort, which we shall explore in the coming months, and I hope years. The FiftyUp Club and probably all of us are part of this phenomenon with our roles to play. Passive or active? Courageous or fearful? Generous or stingy?
I’m sure I shall die before I get everything I’d like to achieve done, but I’ll give it a damn good try and have fun in the process.
The clock is ticking on my last quarter, and a deadline has always been a great incentive to get stuff done. So let’s get going.
Any information is general advice, it does not take into account your individual circumstances, objectives, financial situation or needs.