In a ceremony this Thursday in the San Francisco Bay Area, will award the 2013 Purpose Prizes to seven extraordinary individuals who have embarked on second acts that help solve some of the world’s toughest problems. They may be remarkable, but they are not alone. As many as 9 million Americans have moved into second acts for the greater good, with tens of millions more contemplating doing the same.Questions around purpose are natural at any age, but the prospect of getting older causes one to pause and reflect on the idea of purpose like few other times in life. Longer lifespans as I note in a longer essay on the subject published today on the Big Questions Online website (sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation) mean that those reaching “traditional” retirement age could easily remain productive for another 20 years or more. For our Purpose Prize winners and countless more like them, greater purpose is aimed at solving significant social problems, ultimately leaving the world better than they found it. The idea of purpose also prompts hard questions for those facing a culture that often discounts experience and glorifies perpetual youth. Instead of thinking of 60 as the new 40 or the new 50, let’s think about it as the new 60. Rather than yearn to be younger than we actually are, we can instead be there for those who are young, who represent the future, and for the millions of others who can benefit from our accumulated skills, wisdom, and know-how, applied to greater purpose. Read more and join the online conversation here.

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