Sunday, June 11, 2006

Being an aging boomer

My parents were old from the time I became aware of them as people. Their friends were old and when I met my in-laws for the first time they were old. In my earliest memories of these people they were all younger than I am now.

I frequently fool around and call myself an old man. In some ways I do feel old. I have many memories, I have many experiences to look back on, I have made decisions in my past - some good - some bad - all made with the best of intentions. I have a lot of years behind me.

But in many ways I don't feel old. I have new ideas and I learn something new almost every day. If old dogs can't learn new tricks then I'm not an old dog.

I am ready for adventure - actually more ready for adventure now (in my old age) than I was when I was young. In fact now I seek adventure. I try to create challenges for myself in ways that I never did when I was younger. Maybe its the freedom of my time of life or maybe I've just learned to enjoy new things, adventuresome things, creative, stimulating things.

I do know that for a long time my goal in life was stability and evenness. Maybe I achieved that and now I need a little instability.

All this thinking for two reasons

On Friday one of my inportant mentors died.

I sometimes look back on my career and think that I didn't do the typical 'academic' work. I was practical, I did things, I contributed to things - my thinking and analysis and insights were focused on creating and changing - so that children's lives and teachers' lives could be changed - perhaps made a bit easier - rather than codifying and 'researching' so that refereed articles could be written and published.

I have suffered in some ways because of the way my career - so far - has gone

But I am proud of what we accomplished - and it was 'we' - nothing is ever done alone.

I was guided at the beginnings of my career by three men that I grew to respect and cherish. I have written about them and others in an earlier blog entry.

Errol Young died on Friday.

Does that mean I am officially old now?

Well perhaps in a way it does - but in some ways it doesn't

I am being mentored still - except my guess is that the people that are mentoring me - really I mean teaching me, showing me a new way, assisting me, nurturing me, encouraging me - don't even know they are my mentors

They are the people - I can only think of them as friends - who show interest in me by talking to me and encouraging me every day, who trust me enough to do research and write articles with me on an ongoing basis, who think I know something and ask me questions regularly, who are open to my opinions and stories and paranoias and listen to them regularly - accepting, valuing and appreciating - and it goes on and on.

I grow everyday with these people around me - I am a lucky man - perhaps not chronologically young but because of these people - my friends and loved ones - I see the world as a young person, I see potential, I see and embrace change.

My sister sent me the second motive for this introspective entry. If you remember Pete Townsend's line - I hope I die before I get old - you'll appreciate this article.

Check it out: