Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

3 ways for Baby Boomers to get engaged

April 11, 2011 by Robin Morris


On Tuesday night, 75 people filled a conference room in the National Constitution Center to think about how an engaged citizenry can do work that helps realize the Founding Fathers’ vision of “a more perfect Union.”

Marc Freedman, creative thinker, successful author and civic entrepreneur, returned to the Center to lead the conversation. Freedman was launching his book tour in support of The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife, his fourth book.

Freedman is rethinking the time of life between middle age and old age and the big life questions the baby-boom generation is grappling with. Personal experience motivated him to write The Big Shift:

“In a sense, it was turning 50. After 25 years of working, I was exhausted. I made plans for a three-month sabbatical in Australia, which I ended up cancelling. Too exhausting. Instead, my wife and two sons, then one- and three-years old, made plans for a two-week road trip from our home in San Francisco up the coast to Portland, Oregon. When I made the reservations, I asked the hotel clerk for an AARP discount…and two cribs. That odd combination of discounts and requests—signs of what once indicated distinct parts of the life cycle separated by decades—made one thing abundantly clear and personal: The old map of life, which guided us for generations, was rapidly becoming an anachronism.”

A few of Freedman’s ideas on how to get engaged:

• Setup an Individual Purpose Account

• Join AmeriCorps (it is for people over 55 too!)

• A Gap Year for Grown-Ups

Marc Freedman is founder and CEO of Civic Ventures, a think tank on boomers, work and social purpose, and publisher of An author and frequent commentator in the national media, Freedman spearheaded the creation of Experience Corps and The Purpose Prize.

Sign up for our email newsletter