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Are you only as old as the people you hang out with?

This was my travel group a couple years ago when hiking in Columbia, South America. (Yes, I am in the picture if you look hard enough.)

This (looks like) the group I exercise with at the YMCA in the mornings:

With both groups, I sort of kept asking the question, "What in the hell am I doing here?" In neither group have I felt I was playing with people my own age. 

One of the nice things about working was that I was always interacting with people from a wide age range. Other than a little teasing now and again, I rarely thought much about my age in relationship to my colleagues. When I first started teaching, I was only a few years older than the students in my high school classes. But suddenly it seemed I was working with co-teachers my children's age; and then principals my children's age; and finally a superintendent and school board chair my children's age. How did that happen! How did I become the oldest person at a conference? The geezer on the board? The fellow invited to senior breakfasts and ordering from the 55+ menu at Dennys?

So as I explore my retirement activity options, am I better off looking for things that involve younger people, hoping their youth and vigor and Millennial perspectives might rub off on me? Or should I be content to take the classes designed for people with bad knees, attend the lectures scheduled during work times, and become a Road Scholar rather than winding up again as the oldest, slowest, and last person on the backpacking trip through the jungle?

I suppose it is a both/and - I can enjoy or endure either type of activity. Or I can simply be a little less concerned about age period. I do my level best not to judge others on weight, race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, etc. Why should I be jumping to age-based conclusions? And hope in return, I am not judged by my white whiskers by others...

OK, back to reading my AARP newsletter.



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