Fundraisers are generally young. Staff in communications departments are definitely young. Do young people REALLY understand older generations? I certainly didn’t in my 30’s, nor in my 40’s. Not even in my 50’s but in my 60’s my mindset has changed and I see myself differently – even if I feel 25.
“60-somethings are going back to school, starting new relationships, exploring their creativity, taking new spiritual paths, embarking on “encore” careers, forming new communities, fighting for causes in which they believe, giving their time and money away, and yes, bucket listing.
The frustration I experience I trying to change young mindsets is getting to the point of …. I cannot say the word. And that is because I have reached the age of wisdom. What? I hear you say. Aren’t you reaching the age of dementia and losing your mind, Richard?
Please read on from research around the world about the “third age” (60+)
While aging diminishes activity in certain brain regions, there’s evidence this is compensated by changes in brain regions associated with supportive and social behaviour.
This shift in brain activity may foster wisdom that moves one away from self-centeredness toward emotional equanimity and wider social consciousness.
The Third age develops judicious behaviour, often involving social situations—behaviour born of knowledge, imbued with thoughtfulness, reflection, and compassion.
(Vivian Clayton, University of California)
There is also a fourth age of wisdom:
“expertise involving deep insight and sound judgment about the essence of the human condition and the ways and means of planning, managing, and understanding a good life. It is an ideal endpoint of human development
(Baltes and Staudinger Berlin Wisdom project)
What doesn’t go down is reasoning and cognition that is based on knowledge and experience, This ability, reaches its peak between the ages of 40 and 50, and then stays stable and declines only during the final years of one’s life.
(Baltes and Staudinger)
In our third age we develop our sense of the need to:
• To finish [life] well
• To take seriously wisdom (in decision making)
• Complete (all the things you have been meaning to do and now have time)
• Begin to think: “enough of doing things in a rush or lackadaisically or incompletely – let’s do everything properly. Stop wasting time dipping toes into water and jump in”.
All the above relates deeply to Will making decisions, legacy giving decisions and each decision takes time.
One day we will convince younger people they need to understand their mindset is not like mindset of older people; who are the most generous part of society.
Richard, this is so true! I am working at this charity, based in rural North Norfolk, where the population is older than the national average because a) it is a lovely place to live and b) property is (relatively) cheap, especially compared with the SE of England. However, it does mean that there are lots of retired people who have lost their spouse or partner. Loneliness is a prevalent issue and volunteering for a charity such as ours, where we run a beautiful nature reserve is a great way to stay active, make new friends and learn new skills. It also means that our volunteers are incredibly loyal and are generous legacy donors.
I wish I had a pound for every time I heard a 20-something fundraiser talk about ‘bringing down the demographic’ without even thinking about how or why that should be done. Older people – and I definitely fit that category – do have so much more understanding about their legacy whether that is a contribution to a cause in life or thereafter. Great blog, as ever.