Over 50 and Feeling Ripe for Change? You're Not Alone

04/16/2011 12:34 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Passion, purpose and possibility after 50: does that describe what you're looking for? Well, your timing couldn't be better. Something big is just beginning that will help your quest; how we think about this stage of life is undergoing a dramatic change.

To call this recent shift in thinking unprecedented is not an exaggeration; 20 years ago, we simply wouldn't be having this conversation. And, as odd as it may seem, the 65th Academy Awards are a perfect example of what I mean.

In 1992, the Oscars were groundbreaking. It was the first time a horror film won Best Picture ("The Silence of the Lambs") and the first time an animated film was nominated for that category ("Beauty and the Beast"). It was also the first time a senior citizen stole the show.

No easy feat, given that Billy Crystal was hosting. Crystal had the audience eating out of his hand, but when the winner for Best Supporting Actor was called, everything changed.

Jack Palance won. A tall, handsome, broad-shouldered guy with a full head of grey hair, he was clearly delighted as he bounded up the stairs to accept.

He made a crack about Crystal, his co-star in "City Slickers," and then he shifted gears. "You know, there are times when you reach a certain age plateau," he began, "when the producers talk about you and they say, 'Well, what do think? Can we risk it? Can we use him?' The other guy says, 'I don't know, let's look at some younger guys, we can make them look older, but this one...' They forget to ask you to go out there, and you do all these things. Like, for instance..."

With that, this 73-year-old pushed off the podium and did something that is seared into our collective memory. He dropped to the floor and did a series of one-armed push-ups.

The audience roared its approval. My 30-something friends and I cheered from our ringside seats in the living room. "Not bad for an old guy," someone quipped, and we all laughed.

In one wildly amusing scene, Jack Palance was doing much more than auditioning. He was sending a powerful message that's taken us two decades to decode.

I'll talk more about what Jack was telling us next week and in the weeks to come. This spring, I'm writing about my new book, "RIPE: Rich, Rewarding Work After 50." In the meantime, check out the video (or, as I like to call it, my "book trailer!"):

Are you over 50 and ripe for change? Are you feeling at the top of your game? Are you finding that the world wants you to go away? Share your story with us below or feel free to email me via my website. And be part of the RIPE community on HuffPost, Facebook and Twitter. Together, we are going to change this phase of life!

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"RIPE" is here! This spring, I'm writing about "RIPE: Rich, Rewarding Work After 50," a 12-week course on discovering passion, purpose and possibility at midlife.