With so many long-time executive directors retiring, I thought this might be a good time to talk about life’s transitions—letting go of the way things used to be and then taking hold of the way they subsequently become.
The emotions involved in winding down one’s life work and transferring responsibilities to a new generation can be an intense mixture of pride, anxiety, and even loss. In my experience, people are increasingly embracing the idea of living longer, living better, and maintaining a balanced, vital lifestyle. People of all ages are seeking much greater meaning in everything we do.
I was hired by the New York State Bar Association in 1990 as one of the first practice management advisors in the country—which means the executive directors who are now retiring are my peers in many ways. Since I retired from bar work in 2003, I have been working with colleagues who are themselves going through the human dynamics of life’s transitions. I firmly believe that older is the new normal, and this is not only changing what it means to age but it is also changing how we live—permanently altering the course of our lives. With 10,000 Americans turning 65 years of age every day, it is time for bar associations and the legal profession to recognize that aging is not just about people 65 and older; people of all generations have to face up to the new realities of aging.
I have read that law schools throughout the country are in crisis as a result of dramatic declines in enrollment and revenue. It is fair to say that bar associations and the entire legal industry share equally in this crisis in the profession. Today, just about every bar association in the country faces a crossroads, even a time of professional peril, in moving beyond the internet economy.