The term “late bloomer” is the perfect way to describe me. I had to hit 50 before I admitted that I was not enjoying my life. I had a good job, nice car, traveled all over the country and had more friends than I could count. What was wrong with me?

When I really started digging into the source of my discontent, it came down to the fact that I am nocturnal. Getting up to an alarm clock five days a week was not fun. I always felt sleep deprived because I seldom went to sleep before 1:00 AM. I forced myself to play the 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM game, not realizing that I had options.

At 50, I determined that I didn’t want to live out my working years in this mode. I joked around about having made a profession of being laid off. I accepted my last severance package about six months after I turned 50. I literally felt like I had been let out of jail. But, what do I do now? How do I pay my bills?

A friend sold me on the idea of financial planning. I lasted about a year. This was definitely not where I belonged. But, I had a knack for meeting people and making introductions to others. My clients had needs and I had the resources to point them in the right direction.

I began giving lectures on the subject of the non-financial side of life planning. I also talked about my experiences as a working caregiver. That led me to writing my first book. By my miod-50s, I had published three books and was a professional speaker and educator. I am now speaking to thousands of people each year, teaching them the value of getting their ducks in a row. Do I feel good? You bet I do! Seldom do I set an alarm clock, and if I do, it’s because I’m making that choice. My office is in my home. I’m my own boss. And, I’m making a living doing things I love, and on my own terms.

Would I recommend this choice to everyone? No, because it takes confidence, determination, and focus to be self-employed. You must have a purpose and be passionate about it. It works for me; it might not for you.

Not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur, but neither is everyone meant to be 8 to 5. As we Boomers near the age of traditional retirement, we are starting to question what our future (our next chapter), has in store. We still want to work – just not as hard. We want to give back to our community. We want to continue learning – maybe get that illusive degree or learn something completely new. But, we don’t seem to want the status quo. Remember, 78 million of us have changed every decade we’ve lived in. Does anyone think that will change now, just because we’re getting older?

Countless meetings are taking place across the country with one question in mind: What are we going to do with all these aging Boomers? They talk about programs and projects they can develop for “us.” But has anyone asked us Boomers what we want? I’m willing to bet if you put ten Boomers in a room and ask one question, you will get eleven different answers. That’s just the way we are. You build a box and we will walk around it. We want choices and options. But, if we want our next chapter to be different from those who have gone before, we need to challenge the status quo and create what works for us. I did and it’s working for me.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Thompson is founder and President of Life Path Solutions. She is the author of Planning for Tomorrow, Your Passport to a Confident Future, a common sense approach to life planning; and A Caregiver’s Journey, You Are Not Alone, a survival guide for working caregivers. Linda is currently writing her next book, The Changing Face of Today’s Society. Linda can be contacted through her web site at www.LifePathSoltuions.biz or 480-899-8647