As I travel around the country, people often ask, "What does AARP do?" Three things, I tell them: We focus on health care, on financial security and on helping you live your best life.
Today, most of us are looking forward, seeking new opportunities to grow, learn and discover. We're focused on living, not on aging — not just on what we need, but also on what we want. We see our 50-plus years as a chance to grow in new and rewarding ways. More than ever, people at all ages are discovering new roles, exploring new possibilities and redefining themselves in ways that would not have been thought possible a few short years ago.
Most of us are not looking to replicate the first half of our lives, nor do we want to sit back and slowly fade into the night. We're looking to reinvent ourselves — to explore new horizons, to experience new realities — to make our lives true to who we really are. We're asking questions like "Who am I?," "Where do I belong?," "What do I care about?" and "What's next for me?" We don't want just to be a part of the future, we want to help make the future. And we're reinventing ourselves to do just that.
To meet the challenges of living in the 21st century, we also would like a partner, guide and adviser — someone to help us navigate and make informed decisions about the opportunities we have to make the most out of our 50-plus years. That's a role we're trying to fill at AARP. That's what we mean by helping you to "live your best life."
"Live your best life" means something different for everyone. But there are some fundamental truths to making it happen, regardless of where you are on life's continuum.
For example, we all need affordable, quality health care. That's why we fought so hard for health care reform. We all need financial security. That's why we help people find jobs, advocate for savings and pensions, and fight to protect and strengthen Social Security. But living your best life also means finding ways to give back and be of service to others: We help you do that through Create the Good (createthegood.org), our online initiative that matches your skills and interests with a nationwide list of volunteer opportunities. And, it means having fun, and we can help you do that, too.
Last month, some 24,000 AARP members gathered in Orlando, Fla., to celebrate Life@50+. During those three days, everyone came to realize that there are many ways to live your best life. They also discovered something else: As you seek to live your best life, AARP is right with you every step of the way.