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If you’ve ever thought, “Hmmm, I ought to learn more about social media,” consider this blog post your toe in the water.

I'm a millennial and my job at Civic Ventures (www.encore.org) includes handling social media. Some of you are already familiar with social media. I hope I can make the rest of you comfortable enough to venture in.

This post is part of a series sponsored by Fast Company and Catchafire on the future of service in America.

People who are between midlife and old age are looking for another round of service with the same motivations that young people have--to give back, to have an adventure, to acquire experience, and to gain credentials and credibility.

AARP’s Jane Pauley didn’t mince words on this morning’s Your Life Calling segment on NBC’s Today show.

Jenny Bowen, she said, had no child development expertise, no foreign policy experience and no knowledge of the Chinese language when she set out to radically change the quality of care for the nation’s 800,000 orphans, 95 percent of whom are girls.

If you’re wondering how to figure out what’s next in your life, take three minutes and watch this clip from Emmy-award winning journalist Jane Pauley.

Nonprofit leaders: We want to hear from you.

What are your plans for the future, and what do you need to get there?

We need a new map of life.

We've been making do with one that was fashioned for an expected longevity of threescore and 10. We shouldn't knock that legacy. At one time, that constituted progress.

But we can't stuff a 21st century life span into a life course designed for the 20th century – or stretch the old model so that it accommodates a task well beyond its intended capacity. The story starts with the numbers, but it is really about the nature of lives.

If you're thinking about going back to school, consider this: “For those in midlife and beyond, a college degree appears to slow the brain’s aging process by up to a decade, adding a new twist to the cost-benefit analysis of higher education – for young students as well as those thinking about returning to school.”

So says a recent New York Times article, which makes the case that education in the encore years boosts mental agility.

Boomers are a talented, smart and sometimes driven group. Many care deeply about their communities. New research from Civic Ventures and MetLife Foundation says that 12 million boomers intend upon retirement to use their experience to develop new nonprofit organizations. Boomers' good sense and their motivation can make a better world.

If you’re over 50, chances are that continuing to work – and being truly engaged in what you do – will boost your well-being.

Researchers at the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College found that people 50 and older are more likely than younger adults to feel more deeply engaged in paid work, volunteering and education.

The decades-long career is in decline. And for many, that’s a good thing.

“Tacking swiftly from job to job and field to field, learning new skills all the while, resembles the pattern that increasingly defines our careers,” writes Anya Kamenetz in Fast Company magazine.

How swiftly?

According to federal statistics, as of 2010, the median number of years U.S. workers had been in their jobs was 4.4 years.


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