Change is the status quo of life.

The mirror doesn’t lie. When the Strum Consulting Group has its daily touch base in the morning while shaving, I am taken aback at the age of our staff. I had always viewed us as a youthful and highly accomplished “group”. Yet the man who stares back at me is clearly older than what I remembered from years ago.

There is no crime in aging. I turned 70 in October 2022, so I am now 71 and I am happy to be so. I may be young in thought, but I am no longer as young in chronological terms. Whatever I may or may not have accomplished or experienced during my earlier years is in rear view mirror. On the other hand, what I’ve experienced in my life makes me who I am today, and I am a work in progress. We all are. However, I am not an old-timer who yearns for yesteryear when things used to be “better” (they weren’t better). I don’t avoid or fear change, in fact I like it. Change is the status quo and spice of life.

But as time marches on there are many pros to aging, along with the obvious con of knowing one’s life expectancy is declining, (Spoiler alert: that’s true for all of us at any age).

But the pros far outweigh the cons. Here are the pros:

1.Greater appreciation of the importance of family

2.Wisdom—the ability to see situations far more clearly.

3.Lack of patience (I think that’s good. Patience was never a personal strength, and I do not feel badly that my patience is even less than in the past)

4.On going appreciation of friends

5.More time flexibility to do what one wants.

There are obvious cons:

1.Health issues—they get more frequent and complex as one ages.

2.Financial–For those who have not saved or prepared properly, financial issues.

3.Dismissal of older people as less relevant

#3 is an interesting one. I admit in my younger years I looked at folk my current age as ancient—old timers who are plodding, slower thinkers who weren’t with it, and whose opinions were not highly valued. I was clearly wrong.

In business the first 23 years of post-academia (1976-1999) I built a successful advertising career as an account manager rising through the ranks at BBDO/New York and in the 90s as President/CEO of 2 large ad agencies in Philadelphia. Advertising was never an old person’s business. In fact, the industry largely treated seniors as yesterday’s news, and “old timers” were put out to pasture either voluntarily or in most cases involuntarily by their 50s. I am ashamed that I shared these thoughts and in retrospect undervalued the wisdom of age and overvalued youth. “Young legs” are surely valued in basketball, but in business, experience has equal, if not greater value, this is particularly true for those who embrace change.

Interestingly I began my last (and still current) business chapter as a marketing consultant in 1999 at the age of 46. 25 years later I still have a consulting business and a handful of clients, who I deeply appreciate.

Obviously, I am on the back nine of my business and personal life. Age makes that so. But I don’t see the clubhouse and intend to be vital personally and professionally as long as that’s the case.   

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