Wednesday, December 21, 2016

64th Birthday

So, today I'm 64.

My older brother just wrote saying, "Don't do anything I wouldn't do and if you do don't let me see it on YouTube." I told him I live a boring life and though we have plans, we'll still be in bed by 8. Yep, we're living on the wild side!

I've been asked, fairly often, when people discover that I'm turning 64, if I'm going to retire. I keep giving the wrong answer. When I say that, no, I'd like to work for another 4 years and then reconsider, some look at like a child that got 2 + 2 wrong. I explain that I love my work, that it's a passion as well as a job, they nodded confused. When I explain that I may be old but that my ideas are still young, and I'm still working and thinking and growing and developing and that I want that process to continue, I've been told, but haven't you done enough? I explain that I'll know when I've done enough, I'll know when the ideas slow and the interest wanders, but right now, they are razor sharp. And get met with a little shake of the head before the conversation ends.

Others, the majority thankfully, congratulates me both on turning 64 and on still having something I want to achieve and things I want to say and stuff I need to write and ideas that I want to try out. I have a team of people that I work with that, as young people, are bursting with ideas and I've had the privilege of watching them grow and develop. See their ideas become reality. See their goals get met. It's wonderful.

My life has been one lived with purpose.

At times that has ground me down, but mostly it has led me on. I get asked new questions, to which I work to find new answers. Gone are the days of the institution, now are the days of community and, let me tell you, the work is both more challenging and more rewarding. My mind gets a workout every day. Every single day.

Not only that, look at where I get to go and who I get to meet. Last year, and this is an abbreviated list, I got to go to the Yukon, to San Diego, to Edmonton, to Boston, to Charlottetown, to Salem, and next year begins in Newcastle in England. It's not so much that I get to travel to these places, because travel with a disability has it's unique challenges, but that I get to go there and meet people and talk to people and I'm given a podium from which I can share ideas and approaches and a way of looking at the world and at disability and at service provision. Cool? or Cooler?

On top of that, Vita and the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals let me moderate a webinar capable of reaching across the world, on subjects written in the International Journal of Direct Support Professionals. It's conversational with me interviewing the authors of the articles. It's like getting to go to school and having private discussions with the teacher and the whole class listening behind the door. My mind is always racing when we're done. I've learned so much. Cool? or Cooler?

So, yea, I'm  64 and looking for more.

That makes me, not matter what others say, a very lucky man.

7 comments:

Frank_V said...

Most people stop changing by their mid-thirties. Their personalities, goals and worldview are set in stone, unless they go through a major event.

And the biggest problem with dealing with unenlightened people who look at us as if WE are crazy, is that you can't convince them of how sane we actually are.

Live long and prosper sir Dave! (And happy 64th birthday!)

leslie sobel said...

Happy birthday! I think you are very lucky to have a career that is both so gratifying and makes such a difference in the world. Retiring from that before you're ready would be a loss for both you and the community you serve. Best wishes for as many more years of doing that work as you wish!

Unknown said...

And you are married to the wonderful Joe!
The idea of retiring at a mandatory age is silly, to me...then what would you do with yourself? We all need a purpose in life. I'm glad your year, in review, has been so filled with meaning.
Happy birthday, and hoping the coming year is filled with health and happiness, Dave.
clairesmum

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Many blessings on your birthday, and may you be able to work as long as you want to. Work is a blessing I lost many years ago.

Now I'm a novelist - because I need something to get up for every day, I love writing, and this is literally the only thing I can do, since I rarely leave the house.

You're a writer, too - you understand.

Sandra Fleming said...

A very, very lucky man with work that interests and challenges you and Joe in your life.
Enjoy your Birthday and high hopes for the year ahead.

Ron Arnold said...

I'm glad you have no plans to retire anytime soon. Your voice has been an important one and has helped shape a lot of people's thinking. (Mine included.) I hope you're able to continue in your way cool calling for may many years to come. Happy Birthday!

Purpletta said...

Happy birthday, to an amazing person!

I am grateful for you & for the impact you have on the lives of not only the people you meet, teach, counsel, not only to the readers of your blog or the trainees who benefit from your curricula... But on the lives of people touched by the people touched by the people who have been touched by you.... A number ten-fold or a hundred-fold those which I could count.
I pray that you continue to give the wrong answer to that question for many years to come :-)
Happy birthday, Dave!!

~Purpletta