Our generation is often criticized – unfairly, in my opinion – for being overly self-centered and selfish.
The truth is that we baby boomers have spent our entire lives thinking about the needs of others. We raised families. We fought for women’s rights. We stood up against perceived injustices. In short, we cared about making the world a better place.
Now, as we reach our 60s and 70s, baby boomers still care about making the world a better place. However, we are also starting to remember that we have a right to fight for our own personal happiness. We are starting businesses, pursuing our passions, learning new skills, starting new relationships and making new friends.
Ayn Rand once said, “Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.”
Whether you agree with her politics or not, Ayn’s advice stands in contrast to the self-sacrificing expectations that far too often weigh us down. She reminds us that we are important, for our own sake.
We are not just valuable because of what we can do for others. We are valuable because we are precious individuals.
When it comes to finding happiness after 60, perhaps the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. Of course, we about helping others and we should continue to fight for what we believe in.
At the same time, we should take advantage of this special time of our lives to be a little selfish. We should be proud of our quirky passions. We should expect the people in our lives to make us happy. We should see getting in shape as a sign of respect for ourselves.
So, let’s continue to dedicate ourselves to causes that matter. But, let’s also dedicate ourselves to the cause of finding personal happiness in the best years of our lives.
What one thing do you want to do to make the world a better place this year? What one thing do you want to do to improve your own life this year? Please join the discussion.