Saturday, December 30, 2006

Can one person change a million minds?

Can one person really change a million minds? That is the question I ponder today as I sit posed on what may be that biggest year of my life. I am a 39 year old married careered female. I have worked in health care for the majority of my career. For the past 12 of those years, I have focused on getting the job done well; making money; raising my son; and keeping my family intact and on the right path. There was very little time to have profound life altering thoughts about what I really want out of this life, or what my legacy would be. I was simply "living" as the majority of people do.

Then life happens; my child grew up and went off to college; I then took on a new challenge, and soon found myself unsettled with what my life had become. I know, typical midlife crisis. However, I like to think of it as a mid life enlightenment. For the past two years I have been focusing on getting myself healthy; physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. The journey has left me with a refreshed view of my life.

The journey too today has been incredible to say the least. I have found out what I truly like, what I don't like and what makes me incredibly happy, sad, angry etc. It is during this journey that I asked myself over and over, what do you want to be known for when you are gone? What is the legacy I am going to leave for my child, grandchildren, community and society? Is simply being known as a nice person enough for me?

The answer troubled me at first. I found myself saying no. I need more from this life than the knowledge that I was good to others. I discovered that I have an inner passion to create something remarkable that will benefit others for years to come.

So what is this remarkable thing that I so desire to create? It is (to use an overused word from early management futurist Joel Barker) to create a new paradigm of elder care in America. I desire to develop new policies, new processes and to change the view of average america regarding aging, elder care and what we think we need as we age.

Having worked in the current model of care I can tell you what is wrong with it. I can also define what is right with it, and why what we are doing right, is looked at with mistrust, and at times controversy and public outcry. It is the constant source of joy and frustration that I have found in my life's work that leads me on this quest. Our elders deserve a better paradigm, and it is up to my generation to create it for them. I am no longer content to sit idly by and allow things to happen that I do not agree with. It is a time for action, comment and a rational perspective in elder care.

For the next year, I will be jotting, blogging my perspective on what we need to create, and my view of what is working and what is not. Please join me on this journey and share your thoughts, comments and questions. I look forward to discussions, challenges and new ideas on this quest for change.