Last night I watched a presentation by Richard Florida talking about creativity. Through time humans have gone through different periods such as agricultural, industrial and more recently information (technology). I think he is suggesting that we may be moving into a new period, the creativity period, at least among the developed countries, particularly when we take into account the recent statistics and the percentages of populations involved as laborers (falling) or creators (rising). If I am understanding his predictions correctly then the time for us older people to take our rightful place in society is right here and now.

Just think of all the knowledge and experience tucked away in older brains! My impression is that even in the high-tech world some of the early pioneers started out with ideas and followed them through in their garages. I’m not sure that we need expensively equipped work places at least to get our ideas off the ground. If we do then there should be a facility available to us to take our ideas on board and develop them.

Florida argues that economic downturns in mankind’s history such as the great depression triggered huge steps forward. Following this argument logic suggests that the recent world depression may also provide a springboard to make another leap forward. If this is correct then with so many talented older people around, many of us with time on our hands, isn’t it time that the world stopped dismissing us as an economic burden and started to regard us as a talented asset and encourage us to use all this knowledge and experience we have acquired over the years? Just because we can no longer physically cope with a full working week doesn’t mean that we should end up on the scrap heap.

I have just been sent a link to a blog site set up by a 92-year-old who was lonely after the death of his wife. With the help of his grandsons he is also exploring the Alps and having a ball! He worries about how he will cope (with his gammy leg!). What a pity he and his wife didn’t have enough belief in themselves to do more when they were both younger.

As older people we have two problems. Society treats us as second class citizens which we believe and then assume we are not capable of anything but being a burden (like women and coloured people in the past). We then have the problem of not believing in ourselves and therefore not even attempting to achieve.

If Florida is right and we are moving into the creativity age (in all areas of life) then let’s make use of our talents and knowledge and move in there. I’m sure many of us could show youngsters a thing or two. We are not just expensive ornaments.

But lets not wait until we are 92 to find ourselves and find what we are capable of!