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Navigating Emotional Transitions in the Second Half of Life

October 16, 2011

This Wednesday, October 19th at 5 p.m.,  Paul Hilt and I will  be presenting an enrichment workshop  in Philadelphia for the Friends Life Care community, on the topic of Navigating Transitions in the Second Half of Life. Although we often anticipate new goals and meaning, more leisure time, and improved social connections in the second half of life; personal and family transitions can make it feel more like a game of 52-card pickup.  There are individual challenges, and then the relationship skills needed to negotiate them fairly.

The individual challenges identified by Hilt & Associates include five crucial emotional aspects of transition in pre-retirement and retirement.

  1. Uncertain Identity
  2. Unstructured Time
  3. Unclear Purpose
  4. Missing Community
  5. Unknown Territory
And that’s only for an individual. Now jump to light-speed, where you have a partner, sometimes a young adult in transition, an aging parent, or grandchildren, and you have a rubiks cube of competing needs to negotiate. Elizabeth Mosier, a fellow Bryn Mawr alum and author, interviewed me for an excellent article she published on this topic. The key to resolving these issues is learning how to be fair. As a family psychologist and relational ethics author and expert, I see many collisions of good and well-meaning people who struggle to find what’s fair. Each of us thinks we know what’s fair, but  when we disagree, we can’t all be right.  I’ll be talking about the intuitive basis of fairness, and where it goes wrong. The most common interpersonal issues in the second half of life include the realities that 55% of us will have a young adult come home to live for more than three months. That a third of us will have an aging parent living with us for more than three months. Women, who got a later start in the workplace, may not be ready to retire when their husbands do. Or one partner may have a dream of fishing all day, while the other has a dream of travel.   What’s fair to one may not feel fair to the other. Who decides and how?
The Wednesday workshop is open to the public. For more information, please call Elise Lamarra at 215-628-8964 or email at: elamarra@friendslifecare.org. Hope to see you there.
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