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Published:May 31st, 2012 13:57 EST
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"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." 

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"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 Amazon.com.

A GREAT GIFT for Father`s Day!