The Extreme Existential Makeover
Jared Sperli stashed this in life
I *love* this concept of a do-over later in life:
AMONG the many unexpected downsides of increased longevity (running through one’s retirement money; more years in an assisted-living facility; entertaining the possibility that we ourselves may suffer the consequences of global warming, even though we thought we were just “passing the problem on to our children”), one can now include the prospect of more time to sit on a park bench brooding about how we could have done it differently — been better than ourselves.
But this is America, land of opportunity, where all things are possible for all of us at any moment in our lives. Remember that phenomenon of childhood, the do-over, where, if you landed in the Monopoly space that sent you directly to jail or drew bad cards at Go Fish, you could request a do-over? The game has also become popular with late-stage adults. It just has other names: Princeton Learn & Travel. Harbor Bay Club Senior Tennis. Bennington Chamber Music Conference. You’ve already been to Morocco, but it was the ’60s and you were stoned. You got kicked off the high school sports team for reading Partisan Review on the bus. You gave up the violin in sixth grade because your music teacher insisted you had no talent. But what did he know? Again, please, from the beginning.
I bet you didn't know I have a "late bloomers" stash:
Sometimes "do over" means marriage:
Marriage is especially susceptible to the lure of the do-over — and once is often not enough. It’s well known that around half of all marriages end in divorce. According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, at Bowling Green State University, that figure rises to 60 percent for second marriages and to 65 percent for third and fourth marriages. Yet the vast majority of these men and women remarry. (A Chinese fortune cookie I received not long ago from Hunan Cottage: “Cannot change wife of 40 for two 20s.” No, but I know a few men who have done it for one.)
Sometimes "do over" means business:
Business is another fertile field when it comes to aspirational rebirth. The Small Business Administration has instituted a program for 50-plus “Encore Entrepreneurs,” classified as “individuals planning to start a business after earlier career endeavors.” Encore.org, based in San Francisco, awards what it calls the Purpose Prize as “an investment in people 60 and older who are creating fresh solutions to old problems.” Winners include a lawyer who teaches homeowners how to protect themselves from unfair lending practices, and a retired financial planner who offers workshops to low-income families. Doing over can be doing good — for once.