Dorian Mintzer - Exploring Middlescence
HAC Presenters Series 8
Dr. Dorian Mintzer (also known as Sage in Second Life) thinks a lot about aging. Not just the how, when, and where but how our concept of aging has been changing over time. “We’re living longer and the paradigm of aging has been changing,” Dori says. “The expectation in the 21st century is that people may live 20, 30 or more years past the ‘traditional’ retirement age of 62 or 65. Middle age is now thought of as between ages 50 - 75 + years. Some people refer to this life stage as “the third stage of life,” a “second adulthood,” “middlescence” or “the second half of life.” Whatever term we use, these can be exciting and fulfilling years of life.”
Dori points to several factors that can help ensure that a person’s “second adulthood” is both engaging and fulfilling:
Well-being: Connection, engagement, purpose, and meaning
Agency: Knowing you matter and have something to contribute
Legacy: Giving back, living, and/or leaving a legacy
Physical Care: Exercise, nutrition, check-ups, etc.
Care for Mind and Soul: Lifelong learning and spirituality (a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself)
Dori is nothing but proactive about her own aging process, taking part in a wide range of professional groups, discussions, mentoring programs, and workshops (see a partial list at the bottom of this profile). On a personal level, Dori and her husband spend plenty of time outdoors, riding their EBikes, playing Pickelball, and hiking/walking along the numerous trails in their community. They are also avid readers, enjoy listening to audio books, and take classes through a local Osher Lifelong Learning (OLLI) program.
Virtual Worlds and Healthful Aging
When Dori first heard about Second Life (SL), she was skeptical. “I worried that some people might just live in SL and basically disconnect from real life.” However, thanks to her friendship with Lynne Berrett - the founder of the Ageless Mind Project (AMP) and its virtual arm Whole Brain Health (WBH) - she was introduced to innovative ways seniors can use virtual spaces to age well. “I have been greatly impressed with the WBH programs on Inspiration Island in SL. They help people connect with others, learn skills, and acquire tools to help them navigate in both their physical and virtual lives,” Dori says. The programs offered by Lynne and her team on Inspiration Island focus on developing strengths, enhancing brain health, and encouraging interaction with others. For many, this means finding ways to not only interact with others, but give back to the community by sharing their skills as well.
“I have come to appreciate the role of virtual worlds, such as Second Life, to help people age well,” Dori says. As a result, Sage (Dori’s avatar) began offering a program of her own on Inspiration Island. Known as “Wisdom Circle,” it is a monthly group that meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 11:00 am (SLT/PST). “Wisdon Circle is open to people of all ages, and I’ve been very impressed with the richness of the conversations and how important SL is to many people. Some are more isolated in real life (especially due to the pandemic), but there are also those with mobility issues or other disabilities that make connecting in physical reality difficult,” Dori explains.
When asked if she feels that SL can be part of healthy aging, she is both enthusiastic and encouraging. “Now that I know what SL has to offer - especially the variety of programs offered through WBH on Inspiration Island - I believe SL can help people age well by providing new opportunities as well as tools to navigate this ‘middlescence’ of life.”
Looking to the future, when her work in physical reality is not as time consuming, Dori would like to spend more time taking part in Inspiration Island programs and exploring other places, activities, and events in SL. “I enjoy the freedom of having an avatar,” she says. “Eventually I hope to learn how to pick out outfits, dress myself on my own, and explore more. Whenever I do have a little time and get into SL, I have discovered how easy it is to lose myself and can see myself spending many hours there.”
Like many Second Life residents, Dori sees the allure Second Life as both a plus and a minus. “I want to explore SL more and use it as a catalyst to engage in some of the activities I enjoy in physical reality - such as tai chi, live music, visits to museums, and the theatre,” she says. “I’m looking forward to building more of those activities back into my physical life as well.” - Jena Ball (Jenaia Morane)
Dori’s HAC Presentation
Dr. Dorian’s presentation at the Healthful Aging Through Lifelong Learning Conference is entitled, “Embracing Your Bonus Years.” The session will cover how to maximize your bonus years by seeing them as a time to learn, grow and evolve. The overall goal is to identify ways to live your best life at any age.
Date: Thursday, May 18th.
Time: 9:00 am (SLT)
12:00 pm (Noon) (EDT)
4:00 pm (GMT)
Location: HAC Main Stage
Format: Pre-recorded video, with discussion afterwards
Voice: Yes (Enable ears)
Dr. Dorian Mintzer - Bio
Dr. Dorian (aka Dori) Mintzer is a retirement coach, consultant, writer and popular speaker. She combines her personal and professional experiences as a therapist, coach, and teacher with expertise in adult development, life planning, and positive psychology as she works to help people navigate the second half of life. She was named to the 2022 Class of Encore Network Champions, a list of 35 people who champion the civic, social, & economic contributions of people 50 plus, and has been featured in a variety of media. She brings a fresh perspective on designing the second half of life as a time to learn, grow and evolve. Whether single or in a relationship, there are some important issues to “puzzle out” for yourself and then discuss with whoever is important to you in your life. One of the goals is to be intentional in how you live so you don’t reach the end of your life with regrets.
Dr. Mintzer is the co-author of The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle: 10 Must Have Conversations for Creating a Fulfilling Second Half of Life, contributor to other books, and the creator of the Interview with Experts’ Series, a monthly webinar program, and has a weekly podcast series. She is the owner of Revolutionize Retirement. You can learn more about Dorian and her programs at www.revolutionizeretirement.com.
Groups, Programs, and Organizations
”All of these groups are wonderful opportunities to develop deep friendships that allow for deep sharing about the various ups and downs of aging.”
Wisdom Circle: Focuses on book(s) by Connie Zweig
Monthly Book Group: Developed around 2009 as an offshoot from the “Boomers and Beyond Special Interest Group.” The group reads books selected by its members that focus on various aspects of aging.
Weekly Mentoring: Dori serves as the mentor to the founder of an intergenerational on-line platform called Eldera, which matches elders with younger people for relationship building.
The Life Planning Network
Encore Network (now co-gererate.com)
The American Society on Aging (ASA)
The Retirement Coaches Association
Elders Action Network
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