If time gets tight when she’s delivering a speech, Dr. Mary S. Furlong can hurry through the PowerPoint and speak over the chuckles after her one-liners. Speeding up is easy, because she has studied her topic for 23 years.
But when she answers questions from her audience or from a reporter, she often pauses as she carefully frames her reply. This taking time to contemplate, she often says, is a part of the personality of her subjects: the 78-million boomers.
“Arriving at 60 is a life-changing event that rattles your comfort zone,” Furlong says. “But at midlife, you don’t get a guidance counselor, like you did in high school.”
Consequently, she told me after speaking at a conference here this month, “We want to set a very creative tone (to the rest of our lives), putting a lot of energy into crafting an alternative to what our parents are coping with.”