by Kathie England

Opportunities or Unsolvable Problems?

“This is the time of breathtaking opportunities disguised as unsolvable problems.”

Those were the words of John Gardner, the founder of Common Cause, and quoted by Eric Utne in the May-June 2013 issue of UTNE Reader whose tagline is “Cure Ignorance.”

Utne’s piece is titled “Signs of the Zeitgeist.” He shares three events where people in their “latter years” are devoting themselves to solving tough social problems. These examples reminded me of My Project 65 which I created to celebrate a milestone birthday two years ago this month in 2011.

The first goal of my project was to find 100 people who would donate $65 each to support the women of Congo through Women for Women International ( 

My inspiration came when I heard Lisa Shannon speak at the Voices Lecture Series early in 2011. Lisa had created the Run for the Women of Congo to raise awareness of the challenges faced by Congolese women. Congo is described as the most dangerous place on earth to be a woman.

Lisa is also the author of the book A Thousdand Sisters which describes her experiences in Congo. 

The second goal of My Project 65 was to inspire other baby boomers to create their own projects to celebrate their milestone birthday.

Though I exceeded my monetary goal and raised more than $7200, I’m not sure how well I’ve done to achieve my second goal. Reading Utne’s article excited me to realize that others in their 60s are taking action and recognizing the wisdom of Gardner’s words.

My vision is that Utne’s examples are just the beginning of baby boomers recognizing our breathtaking opportunities that are disguised as unsolvable problems.