What does "the art of encore living" mean?

art of encore living Jun 02, 2022

So, you might be asking yourself, "What the heck is the art of encore living?"*

If you're approaching or already past retirement age (whatever that is) you may be familiar with the idea of an "encore career."

An encore career is a new vocation beginning in the second half of someone's life. It was popularized by social entrepreneur Marc Freedman who wrote a book about encore careers titled, as you may have guessed, "Encore." 

Freedman describes an encore career as a pursuit enrolled in for a public or social purpose and a sense of fulfillment and maybe financial remuneration. There's even a new word for someone engaged in this kind of endeavor, an "encorepreneur." 

The "second half of life" is another term that's entered the discussion around what to do when you're ready to move beyond merely making a living and start making a difference (what I like to call "living your legacy").

The Franciscan priest, Fr. Richard Rohr wrote a wonderful book called "Falling Upward" about the trials and triumphs experienced in the second half of life.

Jungian analyst James Hollis also writes about navigating the second half of life in several of his books.

Then there's David Brooks, NY Times columnist, PBS commentator, and author of "The Second Mountain," who offers another take on negotiating the second half of life. 

Then there are the proponents of life's three acts who assert that, at least in the privileged places in the world, the first act is about learning and youthful concerns, the second is about career and family, and the third act is about self-actualization and legacy. 

Three acts not enough? In the Hindu faith, Dharma (a hard word to translate but I like "your duty to live your soul's purpose") is the goal of life and there are four stages of life. 

And of course, some argue that the two, three, or four-step approaches to life aren't enough. In "As You Like It," William Shakespeare argues that there are seven stages of life. 

So, you might be wondering, which approach is the right one to start engaging with the art of living well in your life's later years? I think they're all right, or at least all right enough.

They each have plenty of wisdom to offer those of us who want to move from merely making a living to making a difference with the time we have left.

How do you think about or qualify the various stages of your life? Which are you in now and how are you planning for the next?

Scott Perry, Encore Life Coach at The Art of Encore Living

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