Sunday, August 21, 2011

Senior Moment

A member of my network mentioned that today is National Senior Citizens Day, as proclaimed by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1988, and celebrated yearly ever since.

According to New Jersey Senior Citizen Coordinator, Paulette Drogon, "There is no set age when a person becomes a 'senior citizen.' The age requirements for federal and state programs and entitlements are established by legislative action," and range from 60 to 70 years and older, depending on the benefits sought. The AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) actively begins recruiting members once they hit the advanced age of 50 (much to the chagrin of some recipients of their mail advertisements!).

Although I meet many of the criteria for being considered a senior citizen, I hardly consider myself "elderly." And while I enjoy interaction with young people, I am honestly not in need of someone to "change a lightbulb" or perform other daily tasks. Some day, maybe, but not quite yet.

I had the chance to spend some time yesterday with a few of my high school classmates. All of us are around the age of 64. We continue to be active in a variety of ways, from the former police chief who now teaches forensic science, to the naval vet who flies State Police helicopters, to the "retired" nurse who is helping a friend renovate a large house. No one is sitting in a lonely room, waiting for someone to come in and entertain them - not now, hopefully not ever.

To coincide with the 2011 Treasure Mountain Research Retreat and the AASL National Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Kristin Fontichiaro and Buffy Hamilton are accepting submissions for "a collection of crowdsourced short essays on the future of school libraries from multiple perspectives, to be published in e-book format." My contribution to this project (in the Collaboration Chapter) is titled "Bridging Space and Time: Collaborating for Learning," and it represents my vision of a meaningful retirement.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on both the future of collaboration and modern attitudes towards aging.

"The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say."

-J. R. R. Tolkien

"The road goes ever on and on..." by dmcordell


Kristin said...

Thank you for adding this unique perspective about how still-active-but-not-getting-paid-for-it librarians can provide virtual support and collaboration for their in-practice colleagues and their students!

diane said...

Thanks, Kristin. I didn't really get involved in the use of technology for education until I was in my late 50s - so I get really annoyed with those who whine about acquiring tech skills. Blooming late is better than never blooming at all...and our students DESERVE to have all the tools we can share with them.