professornana (professornana) wrote,

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This is 61

When you are young, you never consider that you will one day get older and then just plain old. Today, I celebrate 61 years on this planet. Here is what 61 is like:

1. I get to speak my mind pretty much all the time. Not sure this is just reserved for 60 and 61 and more. I have been fairly outspoken (well, largely and loudly outspoken) for some time. But with increasing age comes the feeling of "now or never." It is freeing. It is also dangerous. The folks who disagree with you also feel free to speak their minds, too. So, maybe this is not just 61.

2. I get to continue on in my profession with some appreciation of the work I have done already and a hope I will continue to support the work of the profession. This is the first year in so long that I am not serving on an YALSA selection committee. Boy is that freeing. I can read ANYthing. I can blog ANYthing. When January comes, I will not be in that great hall listening to the award announcements in person (I will be online listening and watching, though). But I will cheer. I will cheer the Newbery and Printz and all the others because I know the work those folks are doing now, have done already, and will continue to do.

3. I get to say NO more often. I get to do more things I really want to do rather than the ones that are more meaningful for tenure and promotion. Been there. Done that. Still do a LOT but I can pick and choose.

4. I get to talk to the next generation and find out what would be useful to them. I am a mentor (though I often think of myself as more of a crone). I have good friends and colleagues who are young enough to be my kids and grandkids. I love their energy. I love the hope they give me every time we talk.

5. I get to dye my hair orange (as it is now; who knows what it might be for NCTE) and not care about the looks I get. And I delight in the folks who come and whisper to me about how much they like it.

6. I get to keep passing torches (ones that stay lit) to the next group of leaders coming along to take my place.

7. I get to pay back. I have the luxury of saying YES to things that will give something back. I have had lots of taking years. Now is the time to pay back as I can.

8. I get to work in my jammies simply by saying that I deserve it.

9. I get to use age as an excuse to head back to the room at the end of the day of conference sessions. Or age as an excuse to sit down, take someone else's chair. Age has some privileges.

10. Most of all, I get to be with my BH (who shows me what 71 looks like) and my sisters (I am the oldest I remind them when they are feeling old) and my friends who do not see age or orange hair (well, maybe the hair) but see ME.

This is 61. I like it.
Tags: age, reflection

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