I have always been a fan of Placido Domingo. He seemed to me to be the most approachable opera singer, and the most down to earth of the Three Tenors. The only Christmas music I ever purchased was his because his soaring voice transported me to ethereal emotions that I couldn’t articulate. I loved that he appeared on Sesame Street (and that he inspired Placido Flamingo!).
When I read the article in the New York Times this past Sunday that described his transition from tenor to Baritone, I saw the lesson for many of us who work in less musical fields.
While Baby Boomers may fight it, the truth is that there are two rules that govern the next two decades for an aging generation:
1. Age takes a toll on us all. There is real wear and tear on minds and bodies that are used well over time, no matter how careful we may be.
2. Younger people are coming along to take our place on the stage. It’s always been the way of the things and will continue to be.
So I wondered – instead of trying to defy age, (and gravity) and be unwelcoming to younger folks who enter our arena (workplace), can’t we can all take heart from Placido Domingo and learn some lessons as well? I think so:
Accept reality with grace. AND adjust accordingly – PD can’t sing the high notes well any longer so he takes roles that don’t require him to sing the high notes. He still, however, takes roles that put him on the world stage and he sings.
Align your current values and actions – Different priorities require different choices. He wants to play a visible role in the lives of his grandchildren so he chooses work that puts him in New York City, where he can see them often.
Don’t let others define you by criticism – I like the quote from the Los Angeles critic – ““Baritone, schmaritone: Domingo was a commanding vocal and dramatic presence.”
Keep coming up with ideas – Creating options and alternatives generates energy. There may not be time to see all of the ideas come to fruition, but if you for the implementation of all of them, but producing many options mean you have more to choose from.
You may not have the talent in your field that PD has in his field (nor the fame, acclaim, and options.) But we all age and the world turns.
Think about how you can turn with it.