I was listening to an interesting report today on emotion and intellect. My entire adult life I’ve always believed in the tug of war between the heart and the mind. “Follow your heart,” sings your heart in the throes of some undeniable desire. “Use your logic,” commands your head before you leap headlong into some uncharted territory.
We’ve all seen the classic images of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. Or experienced our parents trying to shackle us in before our teenage exuberance takes us to places we’ll grow up to regret. So, I’ve always entertained that, in fact, there is this struggle taking place and that one side will win over the other.
When I think of Gen Plus, our 50-plussers who struggle with identity, place in society and in the workforce, I see this same tug between angel and devil, emotion and intellect…about what one can do and what one should do. What one desires and what 50-plus years of living has done to condition you to follow certain societal expectations. Which are often diametrically opposed.
So, I don’t know what it was today that caught my attention. I don’t know what the entire report was on, or who the Doctor of this, or author of that, was. It may have been about Blink (the book that is raging into the lives of Gen Plussers), by Malcolm Gladwell. But I got a clear message. The intellect will come up with a logical reason to accept the direction the emotion wants us to go. A little lightbulb came on. Basically, our logical brain sets out to fool ourselves by coming up with sound, logical, intellectually appropriate reasoning to follow the desire of our emotion.
I’ve always believed that I must follow my heart. I’ve lived my life following my heart. But now, I have a clearer understanding of what that really means. I can justify my heart. So, of course, in my zeal for reinventing 50-plus, I realize that gives permission for all 50-plussers to shed their fears. Fears of ageism, lower income potential, fear of re-entering the job market, redefining the next stage of life. They…we…can follow our bliss and allow our logic to justify it for us.