Written by: Virginia Macali
Date: July 13, 2015

Woman and man shaking hands

Photo: Flickr/Marques Stewart

Are you between the ages of 55 and 70?

Mary Catherine Bateson names this time of life the Age of Active Wisdom. She also refers to it as Adulthood II. 

Bateson, author of Creating a Life Further:  The Age of Active Wisdom, invites us to discover what we are really passionate about. Once we do that, she encourages us to use that passion, along with our time, talent, and skills to contribute to a more positive world. 

Mary Catherine Bateson is the daughter of Margaret Mead, and an anthropologist herself. After interviewing many people who discovered new ways to contribute, her observations include: 

    • Aging invites imagination and willingness to learn. 

    • Independence is an illusion. The reality of life is that we are interdependent. 

    • Forget about re-inventing.  Use every skill and talent you have and create something new. 

    • Enjoy the freedom from the pressures of youth. 

    • Use learning, reflection, and conversation to explore who you are and new ways of being and doing in the world. 

Here she is sharing her words of wisdom:


Her own Active Wisdom invites me into mine.  I’ve always had an interest in adult development and made a mid-life career change based on the question “How do adults grow and change?”  Now, in my 6th decade, my question has shifted to “How do adults age and grow and change?”  One part of pursuing this question is my involvement with Next Avenue, “where grown-ups keep growing.”

What question is evoking your wisdom or action?

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