Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What’s This about Getting Old?

Robert Faber expressed my sentiments exactly in his op-ed piece on the At 84, he looks around and wonders why everyone else is so old. It’s a great read, especially for Boomers.

I’m at my family’s this weekend. Everyone is here for a nephew’s birthday. Mom is 89, Brother is 60, Sister is 53. At 62, I feel no more than 30 and keep thinking I’m back “at home” with much younger siblings. In fact, I often confuse my brother with my 26-year-old son. I’ll be talking on the phone to one and see the other in my mind’s eye. I sometimes feel as if I’m in a time warp and have a hard time remembering my own age and stage. I’m doing things usually done by much younger people (like grad school and gardening) and have plans for the next 30 years, yet my body often screams in protest. Who am I and how old am I anyway?

I know I’m not alone, and at the same time I know that my attitude helps keep me young. Meanwhile, like Robert Faber, I “just keep planning and trying and doing. The beauty of life at any age, but a requisite for old age, is: Tomorrow.” 

Photo courtesy

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Never Too Late

I just spent the last week in an intensive one-week class in my graduate program. It was wonderful and stimulating, but once again I found myself questioning myself. Why am I in grad school in my early 60s? Why am I spending the private school tuition for a degree I’ll probably never use? I’ve been in grad school for three years now – one class per quarter. I joke that I’m on the lifetime plan. But the reality is, I’m working my tail off for a degree that I have no job-related reasons to get. When people ask me why I’m doing it, my current answer is, “Because I can.”

In a way that’s true. I’ve wanted to do it for over twenty years, but life made it almost impossible. But three years ago I woke up to find all my excuses gone. I applied and was accepted, and began an adventure that has given me untold joy. I’m a natural student, full of curiosity and joy of learning. When I started, I felt as if I had fallen in a vat of chocolate – I was drowning, but so sad I couldn’t eat it all. Now that I’ve developed my skills, I’m loving it and doing quite well, thank you. And I’m coming to grips spending the time and money on something that feels frivolous.

This week I came across a story that brought joy to my heart. Nola Ochs just received her Master of Liberal Studies in history from Fort Hays State University (KS). At 98 (yes, 98), she’s the oldest person ever to graduate with a masters degree. This follows her record for being the oldest to receive a bachelor’s degree at age 95 in 2007. What now? Nola hasn’t decided if she’ll teach or work toward a Master of Arts in history and apply for one of three graduate teaching assistantships in that department that will be available in spring 2011!

Good for her! Just goes to show ya, it’s never too late. Maybe I will get that Ph.D. after all!

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