Aging and Agism #sol22
March 29, 2022
I don’t know if this is true for anyone else, but the last few years, I’ve been thinking about aging… more than I wish to. And recently, I’ve been considering retiring. These thoughts are shocking to me. I know that perhaps they shouldn’t be, after all I am a certain age.
This week I voiced those thoughts to my closer friends. They protested… well most of them did. One of them told me I should retire and volunteer at a nice Catholic school without the resources to have a literacy specialist. Truth is, I can’t imagine retirement. I can’t really imagine, no book searches, no spelling and writing coaching, no daily talks with teachers.
My girlfriend told me that I should listen to this Glennon Doyle podcast on Aging. I did start listen yesterday on my way home from school. Full confession, I haven’t listen to the entire podcast yet, but the first fifteen minutes were totally enlightening. First the part that wasn’t, aging beats the alternative. Glennon Doyle, said with a laugh, that she was totally pro-aging. I suppose I agree with her. Maybe not in the way she meant it.
If I wasn’t right at the place I am, I wouldn’t be strong enough to withstand criticism. I wouldn’t have the strong sense of self that comes with years of success with students, deep meaningful collaboration with peers, and a true sense of my worth. If I wasn’t this age today, I wouldn’t have lived all those teaching moments with teachers and their students. Moments that I draw on when someone, including me needs encouragement.
Glennon’s guest on the podcast gave the most convincing argument against worry about aging and considering yourself to have diminishing capacity, it’s self-fulfilling. The more we consider ourselves diminished by age, the more we dwell on it, the more we will be. Ashton Applewhite, @thischairrocks, asserts that we are in charge of how age affects us. I wish I hadn’t been in the car. I wanted to write down a quote, You are never too old and it is never too late. (Marsha Muth) (try looking up you are never too old on the internet, the inspirational quotes are endless). This reminds me of my one little word and also of the blog I wrote a few days ago about what I want to learn. I’m not ready yet.
I’ve been tired and discouraged before. I’ve been underappreciated and misunderstood before. The only difference was, walking away permanently wasn’t an option. Today it is. I could retire and volunteer. I could read books and do more housework. I could. But then, I wouldn’t be doing what that expert, Ashton Applewhite says is the number one predictor of my aging well, a social network. All of those children and teachers, they are the secret sauce that’s keeping me from aging… faster.
So I’m not too old. I’m aging, true. I’ve had a longer career than most of my colleagues have been alive. In that career, I’ve learned alot, some of it through mistakes. The most important part of me is I’m still learning. So you’ll see me in that classroom tomorrow. I’ll be leaning over a child whose going to be amaze at what he can do today.