One of the things I learned during my time at university was how I wanted to die. It was the summer after my freshman year, I stayed in my college town and was living in a co-op house with 20+ other students. During the lull between the spring semester and the start of summer term, a professor died. I've read and heard about that professor before, he was a Big Name not just on campus but in national political scene. His family were political elite; the main airport in Washington D.C. is named after his father, grandfather or uncle. I can't remember. He also seemed to be quite a character. When smoking was finally banned on campus shockingly late sometime in the late 80s to early 90s, he moved his office to the privately-owned dormitory tower across the street from the humanities quad. He supposedly could be seen either riding a bicycle or a scooter from the off-campus dorm to his office. I never did catch him but I wondered if he rented a dorm room inside the residence portion of Dobie or a stall in the ground floor mini-mall and wondered at the idea that his smoke was gassing up a dormitory.
Anyway, one of my 20+ housemates was signed up for his summer class and when news came out of the professor's death, we good-humoredly wondered what will happen to her class, although seriously, it was going to get canceled: it wasn't as if some other professor could have filled it in. In this particular class by this particular professor, you signed up for the professor and not the class. Anyway, he was really really old. Like 90+ years old. And he was still actively teaching. His students loved him. And he was still actively working to the very end. That was how I wanted to die.
I want to die well into my 90s while still working doing work that I love. I don't ever want to retire. I want to do work that I love that I get better at as I age. I want to have that good health that everyone wishes for in order to not spend my last years slowly dying going in and out of the hospital. New York Times Magazine's Old Masters at the Top of Their Game just reminded me of this goal. It's quite uplifting to see people in their 80s and 90s doing just that. I didn't realize that Senator Diane Feinstein was 81. I knew that Tony Bennett was old, but I always forget just how old: 88! Frank Gehry is 85 and international landmark architecture is a stressful business I reckon, but he still does it and even has a problem delegating! There was a mini theme running through each interview. They all feel the same as they did 30, 40, 50 years ago. And in a way, I can see that, or more accurately I can't differentiate them physically from someone in their 50s, 60s and 70s. And it's not as if I don't interact with elderly people, I do quite a bit for work, but the people in The Times Magazine just don't look and definitely do not act their age. And they are just continuing at the level of success someone in his/her 50s would do. They are permanently stuck in time in a way. Anyway, I'll stop it here for now. I've got to work on having that good health bit right now.