If I were to tell you that 60 is the new 40, would you believe me? I’ve been fascinated by generations and history forever, ever since I read the book Generations by Neil Howe and William Strauss. It’s a long one, but if you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it.
After working with hundreds of clients organizing their homes, I’ve become a generational translator of sorts. I consider myself an expert in the differences between how each generation approaches organizing their home.
What I’ve learned is that although there are many differences between generations, there are characteristics and general trends that repeat about every 80 years.
The Phases of Life
When I wrote The Mindset of Organization, I outlined the generations and the life stages in this way:
- Childhood: Ages 0-21. Characterized by dependence on your parents, being a full-time student, and focusing on your own physical and emotional development.
- Accumulation Phase: Ages 22-39, roughly. Characterized by the beginning stages of working, living on your own, and parenting. Lots of purchasing and accumulating of physical possessions.
- Survival Phase: Ages 40-55, roughly. Characterized by seemingly living in your car, settling into a home and career, children in the all-day school.
- Downsizing and Legacy Phase: Age 55+. Characterized by moving into a smaller home or apartment, having grown children, and retiring.
Downsizing? Or rebirth?
Since writing that book, I’ve changed my perspective a little.
I’m still sticking to the first three phases, but I’ve changed how I view life after 55. My experience as Strategic Coach changed my mind.
I have always wanted to live to be 100, and the lifespan pattern of women in my family supports that.
But, we are learning more and more every day about medicine and health, and people are living longer. And, God willing, I want to live a vibrant and productive life up until the end.
So, I’ve picked a new age I want to live to 128.
If that happens, what could I do with that time? What could you do?
(I share mine in the episode, but you’ll have to listen in to hear that rabbit trail. I think it would be so much fun!)
The New Phases of Life
I still believe childhood is ages 0-21, and I still believe that the Accumulation Phase comes after that.
At age 40, though, there is a wonderful burst of energy (I go more into that in Golden Windows of Organizing Opportunity), and for most of us, a rebirth.
Sure, your “rebirth” at age 40 might be becoming a chauffeur for growing kids, and you might live in a minivan. That was mine!
But I also started Organize 365.
And what a rebirth that has been! I found my true calling at age 40.
Women Breaking Barriers
My previous theory on the stages of life, while valid, didn’t account for the fact that if we live to be 100, most of the entire second half of our lives is in retirement age!
Does that mean we have to stop and slow down? I don’t plan on it.
It’s not even my desire to ever retire at all.
Amazingly, I can do that, and amazing that women all over the country are starting businesses and becoming entrepreneurs, truly living out their passions and unique giftings.
But there is one thing holding us back.
Taking Back Your Home
If you are constantly overwhelmed by the state of your home, you won’t get to the point where you feel free enough to explore your gifts.
And that’s a real tragedy because women have so much to offer!
Whether you’re a member of The Productive Home Solution, have purchased one of our products, or are a podcast listener, you’ve already started getting your home organized. Some of you might even be in the productivity and maintenance stages!
But many of you feel stuck.
Every time you try to explore one of your passions, you forget to pay a bill, sign a permission slip, or go to a city council meeting.
And then you think, “Ugh, what was I thinking?! I can’t do anything until this house is in order. I need to focus on my house first.”
We are so hard on ourselves!
What you are likely doing is nesting! Just like when you are getting ready to bring a baby home, you are preparing your home and life for whatever your next act is going to be.
Take advantage of this nesting phase. Know that your passions are waiting for you, and you don’t have to be stuck in your storage room for the next four decades of your life. You can tackle these tasks, complete them, and give yourself the freedom to do what you are created to do.
I’m looking forward to seeing your next rebirth!