A Most Challenging Time

A Most Challenging Time

DECEMBER 3, 2020 | BY  George and Sedena Cappannelli

Joseph Campbell, noted mythologist and author said, “Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging. So I choose faith over fear!”


Well we are certainly living in a ‘most challenging time.’  Pandemic.  Economic debacle, the rise of totalitarianism. Climate dilemma.  Indeed, there are a number of critical issues that require our attention, and from a personal perspective, another that calls to me is the impact the Demographic Revolution is and will have on our way of life.

The numbers are quite startling: In the United States alone one person every seven seconds joins the 50 and older crowd.    Every day 10,000 boomers retire.  Every 68 seconds someone is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.  And sometime during the next several decades approximately half our population - 150 million Americans and billions more in all of the industrialize countries - will be 50 and older at the same time for the first time in history.   And most people are not even talking about this issue.  And the vast majority of funds granted and donated – about 94% -do not go to age related causes.


To add to these numbers, some experts suggest that beginning with the sub-prime debacle of 2008 a significant number of aging Americans –a significant number of Americans –especially those who are old enough to retire will not have enough money to live out their remaining years in dignity. And as if this information is not enough to disrupt even a modest Sunday barbeque, some studies suggest that average American will spend between 80% and 95% of all of the money they will spend during their entire lifetimes on healthcare in the last year of their lives. 

Add in a few other facts ¬– people are living longer and fewer children are being born in many of most of the world’s developed countries with the result that we have a shrinking tax base.  With these numbers and trends in mind one begins to better understand the scope of our dilemma.


The demographic revolution will also significantly change our definition of ‘the commons’, put a substantial strain on government systems, require new levels of ‘compassionate’ care and alter the type of public services we can deliver.  It will require that we reevaluate the kinds of foods we eat, the type of exercise we do, the way we organize our lives, plan for the future and many of our priorities and some core values.  In short, the Demographic Revolution will change the our way of life and, if we are wise, the way we redefine the purpose of life. 


As a result of this growing awareness  – and because we number among this over 50 crowd and will be among those most immediately affected by this inattention and denial – we have decided we can no longer stand on the sidelines.  Instead we must take back our power and do something about this situation. 


For us ‘doing something’ involves first putting our own houses in order by bringing greater physical, emotional and spiritual balance into our lives.  It also involves remembering to exercise the enormous power that those of us in the second half of life have – the power to vote not only with our ballots, but with our money and our attention.  Yes, in this way we can influence the kinds of companies that exist, the kinds of products and services they deliver, and the contributions they make to the common good.

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