Adventures of Learning and Teaching

The trip and visit to the District of Columbia and Virginia after a few years was as filled with new experiences and old favorites as expected. Coming home to the TO DO list and class to teach gave me pause to think about adventures in general for elders.

How about rethinking what an adventure is and what we need it to be as older folk. It needs to be exciting and new and challenging but manageable. The idea of fewer stops on the list, but deeper connections to what we are experiencing is my new goal.  This idea popped into my consciousness when we went to the Kennedy Center to enjoy the National Symphony Orchestra.

As conductor Andrew Litton was pulling us in with excellent teaching about the composer Dmitri Shostakovich, my brain recorded that we were all students of this piece of music, how it fit into history, why it evoked such emotion, the details of the composer’s thinking and how the full orchestra needed to be engaged. It was a deep and thoughtful evening.

While my experiences with classical music has been varied, this particular piece I had only heard played once before. There had been no preamble or teaching before it, no connection for me other than the stirring tone of the piece and certainly not the overwhelming appreciation felt by the entire audience of the Kennedy Center at the conclusion. It was my first deep connection to an adventure in a long while, but hopefully not my last now that my experiences will be curated in a different way.

Unexpectedly, which seems to be how interesting things happen, the hours before we left to fly home, we went to old town Alexandria. There we toured the Carlyle House, ate clam chowder and popped in quickly to see some of the art studios at the Torpedo Factory. This was the scene of another deep connection. Glancing the art of Kathy Beynette (, I scooted in, met the artist, promised to call her the next night and pre bought a piece of art. Having had several great conversations with numerous people during our stay; the Ethiopian cab driver, the young woman at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the vendors at the Eastern Market, the escalator angels, and the new friends who hosted us, it was overwhelming to suddenly connect to a soul who seemed so close to mine in that last frantic hours of the adventure. Simply put, it confirmed my new plan for adventures.

And, then we were home. The to do list included a class yesterday at Colorado Free University that is named How to Become an Extraordinary Elder. Another day for me and hopefully the class members of learning different ways to manuever in old age. One of the goals of this particular class session was to get a feel for what elders wanted or needed to talk about in real time and in anticipation of what is to come. They did not disappoint me because they were all different, but all the same in the need to manage the lives they have left in  the best way possible. In a few days this blog will be full of their thinking and the movement toward EXTRAORDINARY LIVING. They also asked for a list of books and that will be forthcoming.

May you all rethink how you spend your time and energy on both daily living and adventures,