What’s It All About? Not Alfie but Connection!

Remember the song, “What’s It All About Alfie?” Those of us who are Baby Boomers should have some recollection of the famous tune by Burt Bacharach. Now, I never saw the movie or paid attention to the song, but the part of the title, “What’s It All About?” has stayed with me since childhood. As a sexagenarian, I often hear people, if not explicitly, implicitly ask that very question.

About a month ago, I was walking our dogs, and as I was strolling down the street, I ran into a neighbor I had not seen for some time. We greeted each other as neighbors often do. This lovely family man and his wife, who have several children are about my age, give and take two to three years. After asking me what I was doing, I shared that I was quite busy developing new endeavors. He smiled wistfully and told me that I was fortunate enough to be involved in such activities. I got the impression that he might be asking the “What is it all about” question.

Is Sixty The New Forty?

Many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers revel in claiming that sixty is the new forty. With healthier lifestyles, including exercise and better eating habits, this age group embraces all of the things their predecessors would deem inconceivable. At one time, age sixty-five was a death knell. Now, are you kidding? Many see it as a time of freedom to do what they choose and continue working or retiring. Some are indulging in new activities and selecting cosmetic procedures to keep the physical appearance in line with their mental state. Yes, for many Boomers and Xers, life is grand, and the end of life seems far away. Yet, for others, this is not the case.

Frequently, anxiety increases around issues of retirement, and more questions arise.

In other articles, I have discussed the disturbing research around the suicide increase in Baby Boomer women. Sadly, I do not believe this is going to decrease as it has not for older gentlemen. As my lovely neighbor intimated, what indeed is it all about after certain life stages. Unspoken questions begin to emerge in one’s mind as people’s children grow up, some moving away, and the prominent age of sixty-five begins to loom. Frequently, anxiety increases around issues of retirement, and more questions arise. “Do I have enough money? What will I do to fill the time?” Others want to continue working as it provides them a sense of purpose, dignity, and connection. Yet, because of the understated reality of ageism, they fear losing their job or acquiring new employment.

Young People Don’t Forget!

Many young people do not recognize the importance of the questions their older counterparts pose. They should not pooh-pooh this because they will arrive at that pivotal point someday. Also, with the gift of innovation, their lives may extend beyond their wildest dreams. What then? What will they need to do to maintain their sense of purpose and connection? We Boomers can let them worry about that, but they should not forget that many of our discoveries and those before us have paved the way for future generations.

In the meantime, we must continue our quest to answer the question of what it is all about. For those who wish to continue to work, there is a great organization that helps with this. My friend and colleague, Melody Beach, heads several chapters of Fifty Plus Job Seekers in Massachusetts, at www.50plusjobseekers.org. I suspect we will see more such organizations arise over time.

Regarding other questions about these later stages, well, I continue to encourage people to look within and see what they might be missing about themselves. Also, I invite you to check out my Facebook Group, Get UnStuck, Bold, Beautiful U, for older Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. You might get an idea just from listening and observing others, and, as I often state, watch what could happen.

What About You?

What are your thoughts about this epic time in one’s life? Do you wonder about your next chapter? What are your plans? I will leave you with this quote from George Bernard Shaw;

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

I believe we should never stop. What says you?

Darlene Corbetthttps://darlenecorbett.com/
Darlene Corbett is a Speaker, Author, Licensed Therapist, and Podcaster and is known as the “UnStuck” expert. She has developed programs based on her experience and is hired by associations and corporations all over the country to share her expertise. Darlene is a high-content speaker with an engaging and energizing style. Darlene loves working with people and believes her foundation as a Therapist and Hypnotherapist validates her position that everyone can get UnStuck. When it comes to her deep understanding of human behavior, communication, and relationships, Darlene not only helps refurbish the house but steady the foundation. She has been quoted in Knox News, MSN.com, Bustle, and Best Life and has written many blogs and articles. Her book, Stop Depriving The World of You: A Guide for Getting Unstuck, was published by Sound Wisdom in November 2018. Darlene’s podcast “Tap Into The Power of U” is for men and women 40+ who wish to get unstuck. Darlene is a member of many associations and is an Approved Consultant with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. She has served on a variety of Boards, including, more recently, the National Speakers Association - New England and Abby’s House in Worcester, MA. A free ebook, Five Steps To Get UnStuck: For Professional Women of Faith Fifty+, is available on her website at https://www.DarleneCorbett.com. In her personal life, Darlene enjoys spending time with her husband, dogs, and close friends, as well as crocheting, reading, attempting tricky crossword puzzles, yoga, staying healthy and loving life. Along with being a bibliophile, she is a logophile. Thus, Darlene adores discovering new words, being challenged by Jumble Scrambles, and extraordinarily challenged with learning a new language. She thanks God every day for giving her the energy and excitement to continue to look forward to what is ahead.


  1. At age 75 and still going strong, I celebrate your being a vibrant voice for making the most of every season of our lives. YES – What it’s all about is connection and understanding that we are all in this together and that we are stronger and braver together. I am an activist for Elders Action Network and Sage-ing International, joining with so many others to deal with the daunting challenges of our time, calling upon all our wisdom and experience and passion. And the gift is that we are individually is magnified 100-fold by doing so together. Thank you for your very thoughtful words.

  2. Oh Darlene, You really do deliver some super descriptions, thought, advice, motivation……! Life is about creating yourself. Perhaps some folk never find themselves, but continue creating new aspects of themselves. I guess it is similar to asking oneself, ‘who am I’. Saying our loud might prompt a passer-by to call for the medics!
    Personally I believe you are as old as you want to be regardless of age. Does that make sense? Some folk have the outlook of a sixty years old though they are only 40. Some have an view of life and the high-five of engaging with people; communicating; and age here is irrelevant. It is easy to take a seat on retirement and essentially wait for the end-game. Engage with people, write, get out and view the world. Broaden the mind; release the creativity that was always there but benign. Create yourself. Super article, Darlene

    • Thank you as always dear Simon for your lovely and thoughtful comment. As I messaged you on LinkedIn, I love the quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and will savor it. Yes, many people maintain the mindset of “if only” or “it is too late” even at the ripe young age of thirty, thirty-five, forty. If they broaden their mind, as you eloquently wrote, they will see that their richest chapters may be in front of them, but they must turn the page. I always appreciate your insights dear Simon.