Many Squamish folks pride themselves on our young demographic, and for good reason.
Approximately 65% of Squamish residents are under the age of 45, according to the District of Squamish stats.
That is fantastic as younger people have much to bring to the table when it comes to business, the environment and the culture of a community.
At times though, this excitement about our relative youth overlooks the amazing opportunities and accomplishments of those in middle age and beyond.
Yet proof of the prevalence and value of the mid-life reboot is all around us.
At the end of 2020, instead of 30 Under 30 and NextGen lists, please profile middle-aged people who just got their big breaks. I want to read about a mother of 2 who published her first novel, a director who released their first studio feature at 47, THAT'S THE LIST WE WANT.— Melissa Hunter (@melissaFTW) January 7, 2020
Over the weekend, this tweet by TV producer Melissa Hunter went viral: “At the end of 2020, instead of ‘30-Under-30 ‘and ‘NextGen’ lists, please profile middle-aged people who just got their big breaks.”
Many of those who likely watched Fonzie on TV in real-time, not reruns, jumped in to share that they became a paid firefighter at the age of 48, started a new business at 50, wrote a book at 52, became a trial attorney at 53, started painting at 65, and so much more.
Squamish’s Isabel Jordan, who founded The Rare Disease Foundation jumped in to say she is now working with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement.
“When my son was born, my life as a writer took a huge detour. He has a rare disease and my career was put aside to look after his needs. He’s now 18. I just turned 50, got my first job since then to use our lived experience to make the healthcare system better,” she said.
Patricia Heintzman and Mayor Karen Elliott were voted onto council and then became mayors in their 40s. Coun. Doug Race was elected after a career as a lawyer; Coun. John French in his late 40s after various media careers. The list goes on.
To thrive, all Squamish workplaces and organizations should resemble healthy aquariums — rich with diversity.
But how often have you been at board meetings and heard something to the effect of, “let’s look for someone young and fresh.” Fresh ideas are definitely needed, but those don’t have to come from employees who have only been on trips around the sun the least number of times.
When we act like the best achievements in life happen when we are in our 20s, 30s or 40s, we not only lose out on what those older have to offer Squamish, we don’t offer much hope or inspiration for those in the “prime” of their youth either.
A report by Workopolis states that Canadians are likely to have 15 careers in their lifetimes. If the thought is that after 40 (or 50 or 60) major accomplishments are behind you, that won’t make you an enthusiastic contributor to whatever job you choose. But if you realize that some of your most impassioned and inspired work is yet to come, what a boon for yourself — and our community.
Share with us your experience of getting (or making) your big break in mid-life at email@example.com. If we get enough of them in, we will do our own Silver Successes story.