Longworth: A call to our retirees for our youth

By Richard Longworth for West Carleton Online

In the quiet of winter, I find much comfort through visiting cherished friends in warmer climes, a privilege my retirement graciously affords.

Like so many of my fellow-retirees who seek refuge from the cold, I usually return to West Carleton in mid-March, greeted by the awakening of nature and a renewed sense of home.

Richard Longworth column header

This period also ushers in a time of introspection for me, an opportunity to reflect on the past year and to forge plans for the year ahead. At this juncture of life, I count myself fortunate to engage in such contemplation.

It is common for many, after years of diligent work and family commitments, to choose a quieter retirement life. And rightly so, as each person must follow their own path. Yet for me, retirement is not an end but a continuation of engagement and purpose. We live in a remarkable era where longevity beckons us to remain active contributors. The dramatic shift in life expectancy — from a mere 32 years in 1900 to 73 today, with predictions of reaching 92 years by year 2100 — highlights an evolving narrative of prolonged vitality and societal participation.

My concern for the future, especially in areas crying out for more support, are multiplied. I choose however, to focus on a specific matter that is close to my heart: mental health, particularly among our youth, Generation Z (1997-2012). Alarmingly, about 75 per cent of significant mental health issues surface before the age of 25. Today’s challenges, from the pandemic to technology, hybrid wars and environmental crisis, disproportionately burden our young, manifesting in escalating rates of depression and anxiety.

Many of our retirees have physical pivotal roles in young lives — as parents, caregivers, educators, or mentors. Our past experiences equip us with the wisdom and empathy to be formidable allies to the younger generation, especially in navigating the complexities of mental health.

The invitation to retirees, in my case, is clear and compelling: we possess a unique blend of time, experience, and perspective that can significantly impact the mental well-being of the next generation. Whether through volunteering, fundraising, or simply offering a listening ear, the opportunity to support and mentor young individuals is not just an act of service but a pathway to finding deeper purpose and fulfillment in our later years.

Let us embrace this call to action with open hearts. By dedicating ourselves to the future advocacy of the younger generation, we not only enrich their lives but also discover a renewed sense of meaning in our own. The bridge between generations stands firm on the pillars of empathy, support, and shared wisdom. Together, we can forge a future where the well-being and resilience of our youth is uplifted by the collective strength and compassion of the generations before them.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One thought on “Longworth: A call to our retirees for our youth

  • April 4, 2024 at 7:11 am

    Well said Richard Longworth. Studies show that many youth are in distress about all the issues you stated. What I find most concerning from the studies though, is learning that youth are feeling a sense of betrayal and abandonment by governments and adults.

    I embrace your call to action and agree that together we can forge a more resilient future.