A Time Unlike Any Before It

By George & Sedena Cappannelli

If you weren’t born yesterday and you haven’t been hanging out with Rip Van Winkle and the reactionary members of this Administration and Congress in Sleepy Hollow, you know we are in a time unlike any before it.   Unparalleled social, cultural, political, economic and environmental challenges and opportunities.

We are also dealing with a demographic revolution of unprecedented proportions.  Increasing longevity, decreasing birth rates and a shrinking tax base are just a few of the startling impacts this revolution will have on the life of every American and, most immediately, on those of us who are older GenXers, Boomers, and Elders. 

Many experts also acknowledge that the choices we make or fail to make now to address this demographic revolution – one that will eventually see 50% of our population here in the U.S. as well as in the majority of industrialized countries in the world over 50 for the first time in history – will impact the well-being of our world for decades to come. 

Of course, having done a less than stellar job of addressing other critical, systemic challenges – education, healthcare, hunger, poverty, crime, income inequality, human rights violations, etc. – it isn’t surprising that many in our government, institutions, businesses and a large number of us still have our heads in the sand on this issue as well.  Indeed, we appear to be walking backward into the future, clinging tenaciously to old stories that, like flats on an abandoned Hollywood set, are fading reminders of what used to be. 

To be fair, part of the problem also stems from the fact that as a species we’ve never been in this position before.  There is no blueprint or script that adequately describes the new story in which billions of us who are over 50 and older all around the planet must now invent new ways to use our time, talent and resources to meet the challenges and capitalize on the extraordinary opportunities present. 

Surely there is purpose for us in the grand scheme of things other than this tepid thing called ‘retirement.’  Something of genuine consequence that will benefit from our wisdom and experience and from such an inordinately large number of those of us who are in the second half of life at this time. 

Although this purpose may not yet be clear, one thing is.  Those of us who are 50 and older have come to the end of the territory described in Act One (Youth) and Act Two (Maturity) of the old story.  We’ve also come to the end of this old story that measures success on consumption, the acquisition of stuff we don’t really need, and competition.   

We can, of course, pretend, as many of our leaders do, that we can keep doing in the new story what we did in the old one.  We can also keep hoping someone will finally find that illusive ‘Fountain of Youth’ so we can keep tripping along on this path marked by an obsessive focus on youth and an aversion to age.  Personally, however, we wouldn’t bet the farm on either of these choices.

Instead, we think it’s time to take matters in our own hands and write a new ‘Third Act for Humanity’ that defines new pathways and priorities, and new uses of our resources, talents and time. It’s time to declare out loud and once and for all, that we’ve had enough of the limiting, derogatory, condescending, marginal, and undervalued roles assigned to us in the old story.  Time to move past the illusions and false assumptions that deny the value of living consciously and aging wisely and paint growing older as a liability.  And time to remember that life is about living fully and learning to be better at being human so we can contribute our gifts to the world around us. 

So we invite you to join us in birthing a future filled with genuine promise and hope, that bridges the divides that currently separate us from each other and even, too often, from ourselves.  We invite you to join with us in writing a new story in which the pretenders and the mercenaries are sent on their way and a new generation of conscious, compassionate citizen legislators and noble leaders take the stage so that together we can work toward creating a future unlike any other.  We invite you to participate in The Higher Ground Institute because these are some of the reasons we created it.

And, in the meantime, we leave you with these wise words from Buckminster Fuller

“We are called to be the architects of the future, not its victims.”


Enjoy These Higher Ground Institute Free Programs:

Higher Ground Live

Birth of the New Story