As If I Needed to Be Reminded That I’m Old

We are nearly two weeks into the semester, and once again I am blessed with a wonderful group of students. They are engaged, curious, friendly, respectful, and just seem happy to be here.

I wrote in a post a couple of weeks ago that this was the start of my 36th year at Villanova.

So yes, I’ve gotten older during my time at Nova.

This really hit home when close to half a dozen students told me on the first day of classes that I had also taught one of their parents.

Talk about the circle of life.

Later in the semester, I will do an exercise with the students where they are asked to estimate what college will cost when they might have children going to Villanova. I know such a thought is not even remotely on any of their radars.

But then fast forward 25 years, and here are those kids.

So not only have I been getting older, I am old. It seems like every meeting I go to any more I look around the room to see if I am the oldest person in the room; more often than not I am.

But the one good thing is that so far, nobody has told me that I taught one of their grandparents.

If such a day ever comes, I’ll know I’ve overstayed my welcome…

103 thoughts on “As If I Needed to Be Reminded That I’m Old

  1. This happened many times to me near the end of my career. You may remember me writing about the weirdness of having a parent-teacher conference with parents who used to be my students. Now, that makes a guy feel old. The year I retired, another teacher left who had taught for 40 years. He told me if he hung in there one more year, he could have taught the grandchild of one of his students.

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  2. I do not think you are “getting” older, I think you have fully arrived. But you are still young at heart. I think that is because you are so engaged with your young students. It is noticeable in your writing. Although you have been there for generations, you have never forgotten what is was like to be on the other side of the lectern. Keep up the good work, young man!

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  3. What I learned from a course in Gerontology 101 is that you’re not officially old until you turn 65. Then your body goes downhill fast, unless you stay physically active. If you stay active, then your body goes downhill not quite so fast. So, you’re almost at the top of the rollercoaster. Hang onto the grab bar tight.

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    1. well… It is all relative! … At 70 or 80 you will no doubt look back at your 60s as the good old days.(as we now look at our 50s)
      And I might remind you to reread the UT essays “It’s What You Do–Not When You Do It”

      and when the time comes: “Rustproof Your Retirement” A lot of my (girl)friends “retired” but then moved back in and out of the workforce ….

      Working part-time seems to be the holy grail for happiness and for feeling productive/financially secure …but too many workplaces are still stuck in the 40-hour week work mode–never mind that most of us are only truly at our best for about 5 hours a day… but I know you’ve written about that too.

      Don’t be in a hurry to retire! Work does keep men especially ” young” esp when you are lucky enough to be working with young people.

      I love being around all that hope/optimism/dreams/ideas and energy of college age adults. In fact it was one of the silver linings of my son’s autism to have college students serve as home therapists working with my son and providing positive energy and fun for all of us, esp. my daughter who looked up to them like big sisters/brothers.

      Many of my “girl”friends from college are now grandmothers but few stayed completely “retired” … several have become the daycare providers for grandchildren so their daughters can go back to work, others are now back working part or full time after being stay-at-home moms for years…

      I do think it is easier for mothers to take smaller jobs and salary cuts than for fathers to do so. Women have so many other circles of social support and identities, rather than just our workplaces, whereas men seem to identify themselves first by their employment status…

      (I like to follow Man Who Has It All on Twitter. So funny, so true, his observations…esp about academia! .)

      As my dad used to say, it’s hell to grow old, but sure beats the alternative!

      The Atlantic’s Friendship Files interviewed me and a few of my college friends … such a privilege to grow old with them in the 40 years since we first met … times have changed so much since we met but our friendships help keep us “young”(ish) πŸ™‚ ! (Here’s how we did it:

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      1. Well, there’s all kinds of ways to deal with aging and retirement. How nice that you’ve stayed in touch with your college friends. And it must have been very exciting to be interviewed by the Atlantic.

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      2. I do need to reread those UTC essays; there were so many good ones.

        I’ve known people who retired in their 60s and people who kept their full time job well past that point. I like the idea of a part-time job, along as it came with lots of flexibility, since that is what I am looking forward to the most – every day in retirement could be like Saturday!

        I agree that women are better at establishing and keeping relationships, and I know that is something I need to be better at.

        That was a great story in The Atlantic; how wonderful to have such a group of friends!

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  4. My approach is old is whatever age I’ll be in 10 years (hopefully). It is a moving target. Some of my high school classmates were grandparents at or before age 40. Teaching a grandchild of a former student could have happened already.

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  5. Mathematically I think you’re fairly safe on the grandparent front. That would take a whole family full of early starters. Or tramps. Just take comfort in knowing that you’re younger today than you will be tomorrow.

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    1. I agree, it would take a few different things to all come together for me to teach a grandchild, so the odds are pretty low.

      and on the other hand, tomorrow I’ll be older than I was today πŸ™‚

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  6. i so get this. i teach kids whose grandparents i went to school with and can’t figure out the math. also had one dad who i turned down for prom and another who i dated when first divorced. (2nd families perhaps). i just accept it all and laugh.

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  7. Here’s some advice- stay away from TikTok. I feel old on it and I’m in my twenties. That being said I think it’s actually very cool that you taught some of their parents. Yeah you’re older but you’ve also made achievements during that time.

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  8. I agree with Robbie, Jim..stop mithering about your age….My mum turns 92 this year and this is my birth month and a biggie I can’t even publicly s write it…sigh…but as I add together which will make me 2 years younger than Lily and the same age as Aston…my grandchildren think it’s fun… my children think I have totally lost the plot..but hey ho this face says I am not bothered…Have a great Sunday xx …

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  9. Ditto! I walked in those same steps as my own career in education transpired. For years it seems, I was the youngest, newest member on staff (five school systems in nine years will do that). Then one day, I was the seasoned, old guy teaching children of my students.

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