Equipping nonprofits to advance social change

Surprise! Boomers are Aging

Written by Frances Kunreuther

Even though we’re not going back to school, we at the Building Movement Project have entered the fall thinking about the year ahead. We are meeting on leadership, service and social change, and movement building; and like everyone else, our plate stays full and we only wish we could really do more with less.

In the midst of all the events of the summer – that have us once again asserting that #blacklivesmatter and anticipating the People's Climate March on September 21st given the recent news that greenhouse gases have reached a new high – one small article caught my attention. It was a piece entitled, When Did We Get So Old? and it describes that feeling at work when you look around a room and realize that you are the oldest one there.

I keep my eye on the topic of baby boomers, both personally and for the work we are doing on the future for long-term nonprofit leaders. In the article, the author talks about how the boomer generation thought we would never get old and now – faced with reality – are figuring out ways to age that fit our generation.  Aging for boomers is not the same as it was for our parents and it may not be the same as the generations that follow … something is changing even if growing older cannot be stopped.

In our series on Life After Leadership, we have talked about The New Lifecycle of Work, and preparing for what new roles we will play when we leave leadership positons. There are those moments when we feel achy or we can’t recall a name or our gray hair shows through; but maybe aging doesn’t have to be so bad if we are still making a contribution. It may be that letting go of positions of leadership and power helps us move into our next phase of living and giving. It’s hard to imagine when we would ever be too old to do that.

Leadership boomers