At work, I am surrounded by people who are younger than I am. Since the mission of our school is to make the world better, there’s a lot of talk about problem solving in the present and challenges for the future. But no talk of aging.
So last weekend, away with two couples we have known for a very long time, I was struck by how different our conversation was. We reminisced about the good old days. We talked about our kids and their kids and what their futures hold. We spent a couple of hours on a rainy afternoon sharing our hopes and fears about aging. We talked about how we think that walking into a room and forgetting what we were looking for is a sign of incipient dementia to us, while younger friends do the same thing without giving it a second thought. And we talked of our fears of a bad death wracked with pain, and what we would or would not do if faced with that situation.
We talked about what good luck we have had in our lives compared to the world at large, or even compared to some friends who have had multiple disappointments and losses.
It all may sound depressing. But it wasn’t. We know we’ve had a great run, and we will make the most of whatever future time we are lucky enough to have.
Still, I was happy to go to work on Monday and talk about how we can make the world better.