My 18th year was a big year for me: I graduated high school, got a part-time summer job and started college that fall.
Sound familiar? For many Baby Boomers and Gen X folks, that was the norm. We were expected to follow the path laid out by our parents and grandparents. It was the vision of success. Wanting to be successful and to make our parents happy, we followed the laid-out path, never even considering the alternative. Perhaps some of us voiced our desire. (I wanted to be a writer—and that’s how we lived—hiding our true desires in our heart or behind parentheses). Anything other than the norm, especially entrepreneurship, was taboo.
So we obediently attended college, graduated again, and found a full-time job with paid vacation and health insurance. Then, in order to climb the corporate ladder (another expectation), we returned to school for an advanced degree (I got my master’s degree in Exercise Physiology). Then we got married, got a job, and raised a family, teaching the same vision of success to our children.
Nothing Stays the Same for Long
And life continues its flow. Our children are older. Our career has plateaued. We seek options and opportunities yet lack the finances to branch out for other pursuits. It’s almost a trade-off: pursue our dream, save for retirement, or put our children through college. Usually, it’s the latter since we feel obligated to pass our parents’ generosity down to our own children. We promise ourselves to work the day job, save diligently, and be good citizens. When the time is right, we’ll do something for ourselves. We strive for someday. Or perhaps health, divorce or other family matters pull us from our goal. So the money we were secretly saving is redirected elsewhere. Bit by bit, our want-to becomes a should-have.
Our Time is Now
Then somewhere, somehow, we decide the chase STOPS! We’re in our 50s, 60s, or 70s and realize we’ve wasted a lot of time doing stuff that really doesn’t matter. We realize we’ve sacrificed ourselves to things that change no matter what we do. And things will continue to change, so guess what? SO WILL WE! No more Mr. Nice Guy—or Gal. Our time to act is NOW!
Embrace the Good Change
Second Act entrepreneurs are emerging and according to the Baby Boomer 2018 Small Business Trends report, 54% of new businesses are started by those over 50. Furthermore, it is expected that 46% of new businesses will be owned by this same demographic by the year 2025. Seeking more good news and inspiration to start your next chapter? According to a UK based group called CMI, older entrepreneurs have a 70% chance of success rate compared to only 28% for those in their 20s.
While our upbringing clings to us like a pair of our favorite jeans, we’re letting go of outdated beliefs to pursue the ideas that clung to us since we were children. What’s even better is that entrepreneurship is now “cool,” which means your someday is today! Look around you: there are plenty of governmental, educational and non-profit entrepreneurial programs popping up across the country. Startup assistance, incubator programs, economic development programs and much more are developing to help entrepreneurial-minded people and to revitalize the economy.
What’s your story? How are you implementing your want-to? Boomalally is dedicated to helping you build your Second Act, whether that be in the areas of work, learn, create, play, or give back.