Portraits of ReFired People

Portraits of ReFired People is a project to interview and portray older people who are focused on what they are accomplishing in the present rather than what they have accomplished in the past, and to get their thoughts on three questions:

  1. What makes life worthwhile?
  2. What is it like being an older person?
  3. What message would you give people that would enlighten and refire them?
  4. What changes did you make to become who you are now?

It is my hypothesis that these amazing, refired people will exhibit the following qualities. They are:

  1. Compassionate – They have a commitment to some heart-felt interest, cause, or creative endeavor that plays an important part in their life and is larger than themselves. These are the kind of people who give openly of themselves. They espouse and demonstrate love and generosity of spirit. They do not reserve their generosity for family and friends, but share themselves with the community.
  2. Creative – They are willing and eager to think outside the box and continually generate new lines of thinking that are authentic expressions of who they are. They are conscious of being the author of their lives, and live authentically regardless of their circumstances.
  3. Courageous – They are able to act in the face of fear. And thus are able to act upon their dreams and goals in spite of the unknown, uncertain, or unfamiliar. They are able to express their deepest sense of self because they can act in ways that are true to who they really are.
  4. Focused on the present – Though advanced in age, and having led fascinating lives, their focus is not on the past. Their concern is with now, with maximizing the balanced quality of their present time and creating the best life possible. They may speak of death, but without regret or fear. This is because they have lived and are now living full and meaningful lives. It seems that they are not intending to leave much of their lives unlived.
  5. Attractive – Despite their age, these people possess a vivaciousness and physical appeal that seems unrelated to their years. They have a sparkle in their eyes that shines through their lines and wrinkles. Their compelling looks, though not conventional, are earned through years of living – and are uniquely their own. This is not solely a physical phenomenon; rather, their attractiveness is a reflection of their inner state.

Portraits of Refired People