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Silver Age of Opportunities

Elizaveta Sadova, Emeritus Professor
Moscow School of Management

At first we dream of becoming a grown-up as quickly as possible. After getting it we dream of staying young. Thent we dream of pushing old age back away. We rarely seem to be satisfied with the age we are at.

But the one thing is known for sure: the thoughts of ageing bother us one way or another. Some people worry about losing former attractiveness. Some find it difficult to start new ambitious projects or to change jobs. Others are afraid of being helpless.

We have prepared an engaging interview with Elizaveta Sadova, the founder of Silver Age of Opportunities. This is a community searching for ways of involving the mature generation into more active life.
AA: Please tell us some more about your community?

Elizaveta: Well, that is not a community as such. I have created a profile on social network with more than 4,500 followers. I have those who completed my programme "Restart 55+. New Meanings and Opportunities" at Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO. It is my desire to convey to as many people aged 55+ as possible that life is great at any age.
"Old bones" (starost) are more often in the head, not in the number on the passport.
By the way, those who have been through the programme and/or communicate with me can hardly stand the word "old age".

After all, one gets old biologically after the age of 75, according to the WHO figures.

My main message is that life doesn't stop as you get older. On the contrary, it provides new opportunities to recall the things you dreamed of, the things you didn't have time to accomplish, to find new hobbies and activities that please you. It all depends only on us. Only we can set new goals, only we can make them come true.

I get to recall a well-known quote again and again:
"A goal is a dream with a deadline." Well, it's no big deal if the deadline has passed - the thing is to remember the dream.

You may have wanted to paint at a young age, but following your parents' advice, you became a lawyer? Well, now is the time to join a painting course and buy an easel!

You need to acquire knowledge of a new subject to bring your dreams out of your imagination. It can be art or programming, playing the piano or gardening. Fulfilment of a dream brings meaning to our lives. And the active brain work stimulates the body while studying.

I often talk about my life path, especially to those considering me to be simply lucky in life. I have never felt like going with the standard flow: school, institute, family, work.

Recently, I took part in a discussion on the topic of "luck".
- For me, luck is about spotting new opportunities and not missing out.
- For me, being lucky is not being afraid of new experiences. Otherwise, how do you know what yours is?
- For me, real luck is thinking about this new thing with enough passion for it to become a part of life.

I came back to music at a rather mature age. As a child I studied the violin, now I play the piano. Playing the piano had been an unfulfilled childhood dream.
I preferred basketball as a child, now I prefer pilates. It helps to harmonize my brain and body.
I'm also fond of photography. I saw new colours in nature thanks to it. A "third eye" has opened up.
AA: Do you think mature or young people need more activity?

Elizaveta: It depends on the definition of activity. If we say it's just moving around and being busy all the time, that's one thing. If being active means development, new learning, hobbies, activities of great interest, then it doesn't depend on age. I believe this quality inheres in every personality from childhood. It seems strange to expect a person who was inactive in youth to suddenly become active in adulthood.

AA: How did you accept your age?

Elizaveta: There were several stages. The first time I was upset about life having passed at the age of 35. I remember everyone wishing me happy birthday, and I was wondering what else there was to expect. My son was there, my husband was there, I had a job, and what was going to be next?
But it didn't last long. I started a new job, new opportunities came up, and everything began to sparkle with new colours. There was no suffering any more.

The next stage was at the age of 55 when I got my "old-age pensioner" status. They know how to inspire us like that!!! New opportunities and prospects pushed the suffering away again.

And then I no longer thought about age, but just did what I wanted to do, what I was fond of. Lucky me! Not everybody can say the same thing. My main idea was this: no one will do anything for me. If you have something to desire, dare to take it. Look for opportunities, relish the challenge and the new victories! That's how I have been living my life so far!

This is why I created the programme "Restart 55+. New Meanings and Opportunities" at Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO. I wanted to share it with others and expand my circle of like-minded people.

I often hear my young colleagues saying they are not afraid of ageing when they look at me. It is not a problem that the age will be going up. I am happy to have it and to have this life!

AA: Where do you draw energy and love for life from?

Elizaveta: Find people you wish to be like, and read, observe, try, learn. That's the reason why lifelong learning is not just a word for me.

We composed our programme 55+ as a multi-part film. In it, we move step by step towards the main goal - revealing new talents from inside us and creating a new self.
Learn new things, try something you have never done before. Remember your dream that you have been putting off in the hustle and bustle of life. Don't wait for someone to come and paint your fairy tale for you!
AA: Is your success a challenge to the world? Or is it your common component: a person has to be successful?

Elizaveta: That's an intriguing question. Do I consider myself successful? Or do people around me consider me successful?
I can say that I am a happy person. I do what I love to do. I am happy to live an interesting life. I am a well-established person who appreciates those around me. Those people share my values. I communicate and learn new things from and with them.
AA: And talking of aesthetics of ageing, does it exist and in what does it manifest itself? Share your opinion.

Elizaveta: Let's look up in Wikipedia: Aesthetics (German: Ästhetik, from the Greek αἴσθησις - " sense, sensual perception") is a philosophical teaching about the essence and forms of the beautiful in nature and in life.
Let us draw from this definition. For me, beautiful adulthood is a harmonious combination of the inner world and external expression.

If this harmony is absent, one immediately feels it to be false. We try to stay young and deny who we are. This doesn't mean that getting older you should neglect the way you look. But, in my opinion, a sparkle in your eyes, a genuine interest in life, in people you communicate with, is much more essential than plastic surgery and tons of cosmetics.

AA: Well said! What do you think Russian women lack after turning 50? What is your advice to women are afraid of ageing?

Elizaveta: It's an ungrateful job to give an advice. People are always going to find excuses. And yet my advice is not to be afraid of the inevitable and to be happy to have your life! Since it has been given to you, try to enjoy this gift which will add beauty to your life. And if you cherish it, it will brighten up your life for many more years to come. There is nothing more sorrowful than a person with eyes extinguished, living sadly day by day.

AA: The key to happiness is doing what you like and avoiding something you dislike. Can we always allow to be ourselves or do we still have to play a role at some point?

Elizaveta: The mask, people playing a certain role with, sticks to a person. And if it goes against one's desires and interests, it eventually leads to stress, internal conflicts, and illnesses. I do my best to stay myself in all situations. This may be a privilege of age.
АА: Does popularity or happiness love silence?

Elizaveta: Silence and popularity are different things. A person needs to be alone with himself from time to time, even if he is very popular. It is useful for analysing one's actions and deeds, for reflection, and simply for recharging one's energy. Especially for public people.

AA: We're happy to have had the chance to talk to you! What is your philosophy of life? Please, touch our readers with your female wisdom.

Elizaveta: This life is given to you, so be happy and enjoy it, celebrate happy moments. Keep in mind that there are two sides to every situation. Be on the bright one!
There is a fine expression: life is given to everyone, but not everyone is given the chance to grow old.

The more active your life is, the longer you stay fit, able to work, able to do something good for others. And you don't have to be afraid of growing old in order to have all this. You just have to accept your age. Such a paradox.
Gorgeous Elizaveta's photo story was created by::

Producer — Ksenia Leus
Editor — Gaya Rishart
Photo — Alisa Printseva
Style — Anastasia

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