Saturday, May 21, 2016

You’re Never Too Old to Learn Something New

Make every day count
I’ve been thinking about the concept of time recently. Death has a way of doing that. After losing my younger sister, Claire, to cancer in January, we lost not one, but two beloved nonagenarians in our extended family over the past fortnight. Claire, who was in the prime of her life, packed a mind-boggling array of experiences and friendships into her short time on the planet. She took up politics on the latest stages of her life and was still running for public office two months before passing. While Claire is no longer with us, her spirit and her fight for diversity and school curriculum reform lives on through her foundation.

The late Kay Morrison, 90, went back to college and graduate school AFTER her children were grown and remained passionate and active in the arts and civic activities well into her 80s. Oh, and there was the running thing. Although not athletic in her youth, Kay and her husband took up distance running in their 60s and competed in full (26.2 mile marathons) well into their 70s, earning medals at the Senior Olympics. Kay’s memorial service was today outside Washington, D.C.

My father-in-law
Bill Sessions, passed away last week at age 96 after suffering complications from congestive heart failure and a 25-year battle with prostate cancer—that’s right 25 years! He was a chemical engineer and Fortune 500 exec by training, but in reality a renaissance man who was passionate about theater and opera throughout his life. He played tennis and golf through his 80s (nearly shooting his age), took a swim in 60-degree water every evening at the family summer cottage in Michigan through age 95, and in retirement became a nationally renowned woodworker who never really stepped away from his lathe.

It’s hard to imagine how much change and disruption Bill and Kay saw during their lifetimes, but Neil Irwin’s thought provoking piece in last week’s New York Times, Tracking Down the True Golden Age of Innovation, puts some historical perspective on it. Depending upon who you talk to, Irwin said it’s either a wonderful to be alive thanks to amazing advances and healthcare and digital technology—or it’s a depressing time to be alive since “innovation has slowed and living standards” (not to mention human interaction) is barely rising. We can’t bully other countries like we used to with our economic or military might—and even if the “presumptive” Republican presidential nominee pulls an upset in November—America is NOT going to win as easily on the newly level global playing field.

Our blog and website have more about this and related topics.


On thing’s for sure, we have both more challenges and more opportunities than any generation in our nation’s history. Take a page from Claire, Kay and Bill—make the most out of every day and remember, you’re never too old to learn something new.
As my father in law, Bill told my wife Brooke and I at our wedding, “Be Young, Have Fun!” Our 21st anniversary is today.



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