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College Park Elementary in San Mateo, Calif., had a great computer lab but no one to run it. Gifford Calenda, whose son attends the school, had years of experience developing software at Apple, and – in retirement – he had free time.

Perfect conditions for an encore career.

By Barbara Raab

This morning, on a walk with a friend during which we were catching up on every little thing, I heard myself say: “I am in peri-retirement.”

It kind of popped out – I’d never said that before, much less known that I even had the phrase in my head. But once I said it, I realized: That’s exactly the right way to explain how I feel.

By Maggie Jackson

In a new world of elongated lives and career fluidity, we need to have patience – with ourselves.

That was perhaps the most poignant and startling point articulated by a panel on “Second Careers, Doing Good” held recently at my Yale college reunion. I put together the event to explore the trepidation and the liberation that we all seem to feel about the gift of a longer life.

Like other boomers, we are eagerly planning or pursuing new careers, which often involve social impact. But reshaping our lives doesn’t occur with push-button speed or ease.

By J. Gaston Kent Jr.

Twenty-four years ago, I lost all hearing in my right ear from an infection. I now wear a bone-anchored hearing aid, or BAHA, that carries sound through bone in my skull to my functioning ear.

Nearing my retirement after 35 years in management at Northrop Grumman Corp., I joined the board of a highly respected center for deaf children in Los Angeles called John Tracy Clinic. I was happy to help in any way I might be of service.

By Julie Shifman

Some people start volunteering because they’re passionate about a cause. Michael Burke, a Baltimore chef, began volunteering because he got rheumatoid arthritis. That decision paved the way to his current paid job.

I’m amazed at the great ideas that people carry around in their back pockets, hoping one day to get a chance to bring them to life. For 15 people, all over 50, that day is nearly here.

The 15 finalists in this month's Marigold Ideas for Good Contest have long wanted to right a wrong, open up worlds for young people, or make things better for those who need a break. Today they need your vote.

Purpose Prize winner Arlene Blum, whose research and advocacy led to a ban on a toxic fire retardant in children's sleepwear, has recently lent her expertise to two major media outlets.

The cable news channel CNN recently named Purpose Prize winner Connie Siskowski one of its 2012 CNN Heroes – "everyday people changing the world."

CNN selected Siskowski for her compassionate and innovative work in helping youths care for aging, disabled or ill family members.

Meredith McKenzie left the real estate industry in fits and starts as she struggled to switch careers and follow her passion: river conservation.

At 55, she traded her expensive California beach house for a 300-square-foot converted garage, living like a grad student. Maybe an undergrad.

Myth: Innovation is the province of the young.

Reality: Millions of Americans 50 and older are starting their own enterprises.

When jobs are hard to find and gray-haired applicants don't feel entirely welcome, many in midlife are drawing from their experience and creativity to become entrepreneurs.

LEARN ABOUT THE BIG SHIFT

In his book – The Big Shift – Encore.org founder and CEO Marc Freedman
argues that though we’re getting older, most of us are not getting old … at least not yet.
About the Big ShiftAbout Marc Freedman