In the latest installment in our Judge Spotlight series, we are excited and honored to be among the first to introduce you to recognized eldercare expert and author Bart Astor's latest book, "AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life: Smart Choices about Money, Health, Work, Lifestyle, and Pursuing Your Dreams."
At this point in our lives there are no more “shoulds.” Although many of us are caring for our parents as they are aging, they don’t have the same influence on our choices as they did when we were under their roofs. Maybe it would be a good thing if they did have that influence—perhaps their wisdom and experience would help us. But presumably we’re all a bit older and wiser now, so we determine our own “shoulds.” We’ve made our choices, and we’ve lived with them for many years. We’ve accepted that they were, in fact, our choices. We chose whether to have a family, where to settle, what kind of work to do, and what would occupy our time when we weren’t otherwise overwhelmed with work and family commitments. We probably set goals for ourselves, and those goalposts may have shifted more than once. We saw others around us whom we admired and we tried on what we saw in them. If those characteristics fit us we took them on as ours. They became our role models. That’s not any different than what our parents and their parents before them did.
But life was different for them. Their lives—at least from my perspective—seemed more predetermined. My mother didn’t have the same options my granddaughter has. Even as my wife was growing up she was expected to be a teacher or a nurse, if she worked at all.
As our society changed, we found that we had more freedom. And with that increased freedom came uncertainty. With fewer role models and with changing goals, we stumbled on our way as best we could. So it is with our next chapters in life. Who’s in front of us? Who’s clearing our paths?
We prepare for this second adulthood, I think, by doing what can to avoid being a victim. Sure, sometimes life brings the unexpected—illness, injury, or lottery winnings. But more often than not we see the ball coming at us right off the bat. As it heads our way we generally don’t have time enough to consider all of the options. We needed to have thought about them before the ball was pitched: What if the ball is hit to me? Where do I throw it? Who’s on base? How fast is the runner?
Then I let my muscle memory take over as I scoop up the grounder and throw it to second base to start the double play. If I bobble it, that’s an error. Errors happen; we do the best we can. If I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with the ball when it comes to me, that’s more than an error. That was preventable. That’s me letting down my whole team. My teammates and I then are victims because of my lack of preparation.
Each of our roads on this journey is unique. Some are winding, some straighter. Some have too many bumps, whereas the lucky ones among us have just enough bumps to learn from. A roadmap provides direction—an aid to help you navigate. Preparation and planning, as you approach your second adulthood, helps you think about your options before the ball reaches you.
Bio: Bart Astor
Bart has written eleven other books, numerous articles, testimony, grant proposals, training and technical manuals, white papers, and website content on a variety of subjects including eldercare, student financial aid, college admission, insurance, buying a home, and corporate social responsibility. He was also the publisher and founder of the College Planning Quarterly.
Bart can be contacted at [email protected]