It's about time…
YOU 177 has been developed to foster a global metaperspective of big-picture, higher-level, long-term thinking. It does this by taking advantage of the historic demographic shift to a larger older population.
Older adults bring experience, work ethic, leadership, civic engagement, perspective, inspiration, wisdom, values, culture, tradition, and… legacy.
Legacy is where it gets interesting, profound, and transformative. Legacy is about Big Time. Unfortunately, most of us are generally stuck in little time.
Time underlies lives and community issues. Our understanding and experience of time is a key part of our personal development, as well as our relationships with others and with the world. It fundamentally influences how we think and act, individually and collectively.
Helping children understand time and their place in it is to teach them an important life lesson. They need to know how to tell time, how to be on time, how to manage time to get their homework done on time. So, they need a sense of daily time. They also need a sense of their LIFEtime. They need to think about the life ahead of them to make choices. As adults, life success has a lot to do with time; successful athletes, entrepreneurs, leaders, and others put in time to become successful. There's balancing the time we put into work with the time we share with the important people in our lives. As we get older, we become a model of time lived. We also tend to become more attuned to the natural rhythms of time as we move through sunrises to sunsets, springs to winters, and ultimately life to death. Then, there's eternal time, everything that comes before and after us.
In our modern world, we tend to get trapped in little time – and thinking. We've distorted our understanding and experience of the speed and span of time. We're surrounded by fast-paced complexity and bombarded with the "new" – from trends to technology. The "old" – ideas, technology, and people – are quickly dismissed. We experience one narrow, superficial, artificially-conceived, rushed, disconnected moment after another – an unfulfilling, ineffective series of McMoments.
We experience time most personally every day in terms of age. Unfortunately, in our society we have an over-emphasis on youth and a fear of getting older. Further, age segregation – students in schools, elders in retirement communities, each served by separate organizational structures – means we don't even have the meaningful generational contact so vital to glimpsing a longer-term perspective.
The 2012 United Nations report Ageing in the Twenty-First Century makes the case for "national and local governments, international organizations, communities, and civil society to fully commit to a concerted global effort to realign 21st century society to fit the realities of 21st century demographics." It also points out that "concrete, cost-effective advances will come from ensuring that age investment begins at birth."
YOU 177 consciously and consistently offers a positive, unified, life course vision, since in reality each of us begins "aging" from the moment we're born.
Boomers are the largest age segment of the US population – 77 million strong. They've shaped and reshaped history – civil rights, JFK, Watergate, Vietnam, the media. They're very diverse and their identity as a group may be more the creation of marketers than a real, cohesive segment. As people age, they become even more of themselves. Boomers celebrate their individuality and personal power. That's why YOU 177 emphasizes YOU, addressing ageism by recognizing and celebrating personal empowerment.
Ageism begins with something as simple as what we choose to call older adults. What's in a Name? explores how the words we use to refer to older adults both reflect and affect attitudes.
Addressing Ageism explores how education is key – both from the perspective of more people understanding aging, and from the perspective of how people will be when they become older.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said that connections between the generations are "essential for the mental health and stability of a nation." Being Young in Community explores the needs and perspectives of young people, Being Old in Community explores the needs and perspectives of older people, while Benefits of Intergenerational Connections outlines why they need each other so much and how bringing them back together can be transformative for all.
So, because of the ways in which we understand and experience time and age, we tend to be stuck in little time. As a result, all too often, in all areas, we make poorly-informed, short-term decisions. Our distorted relationship with time (and age) confines us to short-term thinking rather than allowing us to see and act in the bigger picture.
To balance the pervasiveness of the McMoment, we need a metaperspective.
We all have momentary glimpses of something bigger, of Big Time – and bigger thinking. It's not a transformation, but a starting point. You become more aware of new possibilities. But to effect real change at the individual, organizational, and community levels, we need to understand and act in the bigger picture consistently in every choice we make.
Legacy is the way to do that, a way to access a metaperspective. Legacy takes Big Time and makes it personal. Legacy is your lifetime connected to something bigger. We can touch, feel, and affect Big Time through legacies across generations. Legacy is a rich concept that speaks to time both in terms of the individual and the collective.
A metaperspective accessed through legacy across generations prompts us to examine the past for relevant knowledge, experience, and precedent; explore the present context of any problem to be solved; and project into the future the long-range effects, particularly for successive generations. This isn't new or unachievable. The Great Law of the Iroquois states, "In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation," thus instilling long-term thinking.
YOU 177 is based on the premise that if we can transform our collective relationship with time, we can effect profound and lasting social change. If we can live more in Big Time, rather than little time, then our thinking and actions will be more effective.
Find out more about Our Story of time.
return to YOU 177 Big Picture