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The Upside of Aging: How Long Life Is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy and Purpose by Paul Irving

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Chapter 16 Life Reimagined: The Second Aging Revolution

A. Barry Rand

Chief Executive Officer, AARP

We are transforming our ideas, attitudes, and practices around aging. We are seeing the emergence of a different set of expectations, and of practices, skills, and purposes, that will massively alter the landscape of life after 50 in America.

What’s next? Increasingly, today’s 50-and-older population is asking this question. It’s a question that foretells the full range of possibilities that life has to offer as we grow older—possibilities that did not exist for earlier generations. It’s also a question that reflects the spirit of optimism, hope, and indeed expectation that aging brings with it real possibilities for new and enriching opportunities. And it is a question that encourages us to reimagine our lives, to discover and fulfill our purpose. The answer to the question, “What’s next?” defines a life reimagined and the upside of aging.

The story of one retired business executive tells the tale of an emerging “what’s next” generation that is leading the second aging revolution and defining how our world and our lives are changing. This story dates back almost four years—but in many ways it stretches back more than 50 years, to an earlier generation.

This executive had wrapped up a rewarding 30-year career at a major corporation, followed by an intense turnaround stint as CEO at a second high-profile business, and then another demanding run as CEO of an international enterprise. ...

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