…by Prill Boyle

Seven years ago, when I first started writing about late bloomers, it was unusual for someone to go back to school in midlife or start a new business at sixty-five. Today, while such endeavors might still not be considered commonplace, they are no longer particularly newsworthy. Americans are gradually accepting the idea that so long as our minds are alert and our bodies able, we can continue living lives of passion and purpose.

So in honor of Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, who next month becomes the first baby boomer to collect Social Security, here are some quick tips to help you keep moving forward:

Face Your Mortality Head-On

Ask yourself, “If I were to die today, what legacy would I leave behind?” Pat yourself on the back for everything you\’ve accomplished–even simple acts of kindness. Regret has its place (it might, for instance, highlight a behavior you\’d like to change), but wallowing in it saps precious energy. In other words, find a measure of peace with yourself.

Acknowledge Your Desires

Allow yourself to dream. If you\’re in your fifties, it\’s entirely possible that you\’ll have another 30+ years to live. Ask yourself: “What am I doing that I\’d like to stop? What am I not doing that I\’d like to begin?” (I\’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.) Write down your answers and let them percolate.

Become a Lifelong Learner

Nothing keeps you younger! Want to try your hand at drawing? It\’s not too late. Want to join the Peace Corps? They\’re recruiting older volunteers. (The oldest of the current crop is now 81!)

Remember the Romper Room ditty “Bend and stretch, reach for the stars”? The words still apply!

Prill Boyle is the author of Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women (Emmis Books, 2004). To read more inspiring stories, tips, and anecdotes, go to Prilll\’s blog: http://defyinggravitynow.blogspot.com.