In this episode of our retirement podcast, we talk with Melissa Davey Melissa is a filmmaker who re-invented herself and pivoted to her second career in her mid-sixties. She is just completing her first documentary feature-film: The Beyond Sixty Project.
Melissa shares her advice on making a big mid-life career shift and what she has learned from the women in her film.
Melissa Davey is a documentary filmmaker who lives in Valley Forge, PA. She is a wife, a mother and a grandmother to three young boys. Melissa is a world traveler and curious about everything unknown. She recently retired after more than two decades from GENEX Services Inc., where she was recruited to build and operate the company’s Social Security representation division. GENEX is the largest Managed Care case management organization in the U.S. Prior to GENEX, Melissa had almost twenty years of diversified experience in the field of disability. She held senior leadership and management positions throughout her career. Melissa’s second act career is fueled by a lifelong passion for film and story-telling.
“Right away, when I just said I’m going be a filmmaker, I immediately got an idea to do a documentary about women like me. Women who were over the age of 60 but who were continuing to be relevant and not hanging it up, not just retiring in the true sense. Some of them were going onto second and third acts. Some were just staying in their current positions and expanding them or changing their roles somehow. But I wanted to highlight the storytelling aspect of it because when I started to do research for the project, all I could find were celebrity women. The only older women that you’ll find as you Google women with great stories are people you’ve heard of – celebrities. So, it took some digging and talking to lots of people and getting referrals…to see if women would be interested in telling their stories, because I think that there is great value in not just the younger generation hearing these stories, but also older women and women and men who are thinking of making a change later in life.”
“I think that’s the argument that we have with ourselves where, frankly, I couldn’t argue with myself any longer. It was more the opposite – why wouldn’t you do it now because if you don’t do it now, you’re not going to do it at all. And talking with, obviously, lots of women now over the age of 60, they have the same sentiment that there’s this train that you get on in life and sometimes you just stay on it. You don’t think too much about other things that you might do but when you do, you realize that, as you age, you just gain more experience. You gain more confidence and you have the ability to learn. As long as you’re healthy you have the ability to learn new things.”
“And I’m not sure where this whole notion comes from that when you get old you lose your abilities. Now, if you’re sick, that’s one thing. But, honestly, I’m smarter than I was 20, 30, 40 years ago. And that’s based just on the experiences I’ve had. I’m just more well-rounded so, you know. And I think people forget that or don’t think about it.”
“I think people get into a rhythm. It’s life. You do your thing every day, your routine. Coming out of the routine opens you up. Just when we were kids and we would go to school and we’d learn a new subject or we’d talk to a teacher. I consider myself very lucky. And if I hadn’t thought about all this and done all this, I would …(wow). I’m not an extraordinary person and it’s very clear to me, I know I’m not. I know that I’m an average person but I know that I am willing to take risks.”
Stick Around for the Noteworthy segment – where we discuss a recent article worth reading
This week’s article is: Be Optimistic. You Might Live Longer! -from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston