An academic cohort recently told me "there's a big gap between 40 and 50."
My friend wasn't talking about the speed I travel on the highway; rather, he was commenting on how we do life once we push past the age of 50 and beyond.
Truth is, I don't "do" life I used to. When in France, I wandered the streets and ran in the parks and drank coffee at sidewalk cafes. We saw the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre and the Monet museum. It was an introspective time. I also had a high level of interaction with students, possibly the highest and most meaningful interaction of my three study abroad experiences. But that said, I wasn't as active as some others, taking in additional sites and museums and busting out for side trips on the weekends.
But I don't want to fade to black just yet. The move to Boone, NC will present many new activities. The town has an artistic flair, and the cycling and running is off the charts.
I will become a full time educator as assistant professor of communications at Appalachian State. How will I contribute? What is the best deliverable I can bring forward? What do today's students need to be successful, and how can I contribute to that end result?
All questions I don't quite have the answers for. But I have determined that at 52, the best way to "do" academics is to keep the machinery fine-tuned and ready for action. That will mean long, relaxing bike rides, trail runs each morning, a good diet, and a few cycling tours and trail races.
With a big change ahead of me, it's time to shoot the gap and make my decade in the 50's meaningful not just for me, but for those I serve in the classroom.
By the way, master competitor is growing his hair out again. Please post a comment:
1) let it go, let it get wild
2) cut it and conform