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Published:May 31st, 2012 13:57 EST

"gOLD" Nuggets: On Work -- Career: John G. Pate (79) - Vero Beach, Florida

By Harry J. Getzov

John G. Pate (79) - Vero Beach, Florida

"I have constantly reinvented myself." 


"We have been taught that when we reach the latter part of our lives, we are preparing ourselves for transition, going on into the next reality. I don`t really question that but I question whether we`re in a decline when we get older.

I think we may be in our ascendancy. It depends on our consciousness. If we feel that we`ve already lived our lives and fulfilled our purpose, then we are finished. If we don`t feel that way, we can go on and re-invent ourselves.

My philosophy is that I have constantly reinvented myself. Reporter. Public relations. Import-Export business. Real Estate.  But the core of the person is the same. Where this springs from is the creative impulse that I have. It`s an impulse to discover who I am. Yes, I am making a living. But while I am making a living, I am discovering who I am.

I am trying to answer the questions: "Why am I here?" "What is my purpose?" "What am I supposed to be doing?" and "Can I make a difference?" I want very much to make a difference and to make the world a little better place when I go than when I came through. That`s what the purpose of my life is.

And yet -- and this is very important -- I have never let my work define who I was. This is what has enabled me to go into these different fields without feeling like I`ve wrenched myself out of my particular shell, if you could imagine us as being like a clam, you know? If you`re a clam and you want to go on and be something else, then you`ve got to yank yourself out of your shell. If you think about it, most people define themselves by their work and I think this is a source of illness.

Why? Because if, for example, you get to be too unsteady to be a surgeon and you have to go on to be something else, will you feel your life is over? But if you`re a healer, what you`ll do is you`ll go and become a research scientist. Or you`ll take a job in a field where you can heal people in another way. You might become a psychiatrist or a psychologist. You see yourself in terms of what you can do for other people, not just for yourself. Because I truly believe that when we serve other people, we are validating the reason why we`re here. I believe that in my heart."

Harry J. Getzov is the founder of Eldercation -- an organization committed to changing the way our culture views aging and older people. He is also the author of the newly released best-selling book, "gOLD: The Extraordinary Side of Aging Revealed Through Inspiring Conversations" -- Available at

A GREAT GIFT for Father`s Day!