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Old Anima, May 1, 2021 - The Well-Being of Aging: Working, Sweat Equity & Learning

Old Anima: Unique Resources for Older Adults
Old Anima, May 1, 2021 - The Well-Being of Aging: Working, Sweat Equity & Learning
By George Lorenzo • Issue #5 • View online
Hi Everyone:
The number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. is declining as more folks get vaccinated. Here in Michigan, I was getting scared as rates increased dramatically to the highest levels in the country, but now they have tapered off substantially in recent days.
However, in may other places across the world, things are horrendously bad, as COVID cases and deaths continue to rise. See this BBC website for data about cases around the world. See Global Giving if you’d like to donate to a worthy COVID-related cause.
See below for the rest of this issue.

Some major additions to the Old Anima website are currently under development and hopefully will be live by end of May or earlier. I am in the process of putting together two new sections, titled Lifelong Working and Lifelong Learning. Like the other sections of Old Anima, I’m aggregating links to the most erudite and helpful information, companies, and organizations related to these two topics, along with writing some correlating essays.
As I like to do, the essays will take on a philosophical, spiritual, and psychological tone. These are the three primary drivers of older adult well-being. Philosophy, from the Greek philen sophia, simply means lover of wisdom. Spirituality entails being concerned with your soul, your inner authenticity, and how that connects with the cosmos - something greater than yourself. Psychology is all about the mind and behavior.
Older Adult Well-being
Reaching high levels of older adult well-being entails knowing who you are, being the master of your fate, and fully engaging in activities that bring out and utilize your inner-most fertile talents and beliefs. It means consistently pointing your energies toward activities that are self-transcendent, for the greater good - activities that will make you feel more fulfilled as you move forward with a keen eye toward your unique, honorable, and authentic potential. The pursuit ultimately brings joy, as long as you keep trying, regardless of the outcome – as long as you keep “swinging the bat.” It basically means not retiring. Many of the aging pundits and researchers refer to older adults who live this kind of lifestyle as, simply put, “active agers.” Others refer to them as “successful agers” or “super agers.”
Honoring your well-being involves living an older adult life that has a strong sense of meaning and purpose. It’s a life in which you keep working and learning over a lifetime in a manner that focuses on helping your fellow humans. It’s about consistently engaging in work (part-time or full-time) and consistently learning in order to both satisfy your inner interests and contribute to – through wisdom gained – a better world. 
Working Independently & Entrepreneurism
Many older adults have arrived at a time in their lives in which they can now work independently in service of their inner pathways after decades of grinding out their careers. In line with this independence theme, I will be featuring an Entrepreneurism sub-category within the Lifelong Working section. As part of that, I will weave in some of my own working experiences in the essays on this topic.
For instance, I’ve been an independent freelance writer and publisher for most of my career, with sporadic gigs with corporations as a full-time, bona fide employee, some of which were very decent jobs with all the right benefits. However, the full-time corporate gigs never worked out, always coming to some sort of crashing end due primarily to my always strong desire to go out on my own, or, in some cases not being able to acquiesce to a horribly bad boss (there are many out there). I might add, however, that going out on my own had its share of bad bosses as well – as, in many ways, your clients become your bosses. However, the major difference under this kind of circumstance is that you are the one controlling everything. You make all the major decisions on your timeline.
I remember once working as a marketing assistant director for a fairly large corporation. In my cubicle (hated that environment) I had a magazine cut-out picture pinned to a side partition that everyone could clearly see once they walked into my workspace. It showed a guy in a shirt and tie inside his own cubicle bent over with a shovel in his hands placed above a hole in the early stages of being dug deeper, the obvious metaphor being he was in a prison trying to escape. Co-workers – no surprise - would seem to get uncomfortable whenever they entered my cubicle.
I would also often get into debates with my superiors, primarily because I refused to the tow-the-line in lockstep with company mandates that I often believed were unethical, or untruthful, or obviously stupid. Of course, I paid the price for not being a good worker bee, as I walked out the door with no means to pay my rent, entering into monumental financial struggles.
Sometimes I think the severe struggles were not worth it - that I should have stuck out the good job and carried on, regardless of my extreme dislike of it, as many hard-working folks do every day of their working lives. Doing so would have certainly made living comfortably easier to maintain. But I was not built that way. “That’s life and I can’t deny it.”
There were many times when I felt like Ralph Kramden. If you are a boomer, you may remember him – Jackie Gleason as bus driver in the Honeymooners sitcom. He frequently had harebrained business ideas that he and his best friend Norton would get caught up in with hilarious regularity. Their wives, Alice and Trixie, were the wiser ones, tolerating their husbands’ antics and often admonishing them for their ridiculousness, yet tolerating them and still showering them with love.  
Such can often be the life of an entrepreneur, which Investopedia defines as “an individual who creates a new business, bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards … The entrepreneur is commonly seen as an innovator, a source of new ideas, goods, services, and business/or procedures… Entrepreneurship is highly risky but also can be highly rewarding, as it serves to generate economic wealth, growth, and innovation.”
Sweat Equity
Old Anima is an innovative, entrepreneurial investment that since its start in 2015 has not earned one cent. I continue to invest in Old Anima through what I call “sweat equity.” It’s a term typically reserved for real estate, but in this case the real estate is the Old Anima website and newsletter. Again, referring to Investopedia: “The term sweat equity refers to a person or company’s contribution toward a business venture or other project. Sweat equity is generally not monetary and, in most cases, comes in the form of physical labor, mental effort, and time.” Simply stated, it attempts to create value through effort and toil.
Eventually I hope to earn something from Old Anima, perhaps through garnering a sponsorship or by adding advertising revenue options to the site. I’m not looking to make a fortune or anything, but I do have a goal to garner some supplemental income from this work, as well as to sustain it for as long as possible. I anticipate plugging along on the sweat equity path with that goal remaining in place along the way. But I’m not sure how long I can last. If any of you have any suggestions along these lines, please email me at george@oldanima.com.
Lifelong Learning
Regarding the topic of Lifelong Learning, the fact is obvious – you are never too old to learn. As an older adult, you now have the wisdom and hopefully more time for learning for the sake of learning. There’s no exam, no credential you must earn to maintain your job (although earning a credential can definitely help under various circumstances), no competition to be one up on your competitor, no more boss to impress.
Of course, it’s not that way for every older adult. Many have to keep on working hard at soul-stealing jobs in order to supplement their social security. How can older adults move away from that or cope better in ways that maintain their well-being?
The question often becomes how can older adults keep pace and learn about all the rapid developments in the world of work, training, and credentialing that are swirling around us at an unprecedented pace? And how can that learning contribute to living a more autonomous life? And yes, there is still a whole lot of ageism out there that older adults are forced to contend with. 
In addition to feeling the pleasure of knowing through learning, regardless of your age, and putting yourself in a more advantageous position to keep pace with all the changes, and to battle ageism, there is a health benefit to the prospect of continuous learning throughout our lives. Simply stated, your brain is like a muscle. By engaging in learning, you are keeping it strong.
But lifelong learning requires curiosity. You have to be a curious soul. Without curiosity, it seems to me that life would be eternally boring. 
To Conclude
In any event, this is a long-winded way of telling you about the major additions on work and learning that are coming to the Old Anima website. This newsletter, in turn, will be focusing more on these two broad categories that have a number of sub-categories. For example, under Lifelong Learning, I’ll be covering Educational Travel, Online Learning, and TV & Streaming Media. Under Lifelong Working, in addition to covering Entrepreneurism, I’ll address the World of Jobs, and what I may refer to as the Nomadic Economy.
So, once it’s all published, I hope you will find it interesting and helpful and will consider sharing with other older folks you may know.
Also, please feel free to contact me at george@oldanima.com if there is something in particular you’d like to see me cover.
Lastly, related to the World of Jobs and the Nomadic Economy - and really everything going on today - I’ll conclude with Plato: “The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world.”
Links to Some Interesting Articles:
Never Too Late To Learn: The Essential Value Of Staying Curious | agebuzz
How to Prepare for a New Job in the Pandemic | Next Avenue
Personal Tech and the Pandemic: Older Adults Are Upgrading for a Better Online Experience | AARP
There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing | The New York Times
What Is an Elder? | by Connie Zweig
Why Older People Managed to Stay Happier Through the Pandemic | The New York Times
Retirement model: Some older adults reject lives of leisure | CSMonitor.com
Did you enjoy this issue?
George Lorenzo

The word "Anima" has a variety of definitions. Here it simply means “soul,” or one’s individuality, or one’s inner essence. An old soul has a finely tuned compassionate, tolerant, and magnanimous nature. Old Anima provides information, in a variety of forms, that can be helpful for older adults (and young souls, too), by drawing mostly from humanity’s stock of wise philosophers and scientists.

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