As I posted last year, I lost Kathy last year to breast cancer after 41 years of marriage and 45 years of being my partner and best friend. New patterns started forming as life without Kathy began to unfold. I came to realize that much of what drove me before was simply no longer interesting. More significantly, the idea that I was entering my “third act” began to crystallize as I processed my loss. I have never been interested in conventional retirement since working on interesting projects (technical and business) has been intellectually rewarding to me and even entertaining most of the time. My non-professional interests have always been activities I could use to balance my work and none needed the full-time attention that retirement would provide. The path that I would choose for my third act would have to incorporate the themes of technology, startups and a concern that socially-aware business practices were essential for capitalism to evolve to a more sophisticated economic platform that would address the realities of our complex world.
My decision last year to shift my focus to that of a “social entrepreneur” embodies these themes and also maps very nicely to the ‘generativity’ life task George Vaillant describes in his book “Aging Well”. I have reached the stage in my life where giving back is important. As Vaillant describes, if we age well our world expands and community becomes more essential than identity. Being part of something in which success is measured in terms beyond financial ROI gives substance to the generativity life task.
Continuing the theatrical metaphor, founding Good Karma Now as a social enterprise last year with my partner David Allen was the first scene in my “third act”. I am delighted with how the play is unfolding and we will be publicly launching our smartphone giving service soon. Stay tuned for more details.