Our time at the presentation hall itself was good! Our poster received a bit of traffic at each break, and Grace and I were often swamped in questions. It was interesting to see the diverse range of individuals who participated in this event, and this was presented in the variegated inquiries we received. I think one of the more surprising themes we encountered from many individuals was the generalization of younger (our) generation; “youngsters” with little to no familial bonds, socialization skills, or appreciation for food and culture. While many expressed positivity and receptivity to our healthy aging project, it was a little disheartening to hear that their approval of our endeavours was through the comparative lens of our “lesser” age-group peers. Grace made many admirable attempts to steer conversations back to our overarching theme of age-equity and the general futility of intergenerational divisions and “othering” - for that, and more, I am forever her fan.
Of course, not all of our interactions were in this frame; we were so lucky to meet many amazing attendees, including an Irwin and Jacqueline, two wonderful physicians and a couple of fifty+ years, who both took a large portion of their time to talk with Grace and I about the need for demolishing both barriers between generations and our society’s obsession with age in general. Their kind words and insightful conversation were a gift.
A small segue, but I give my thanks to Grace Tran. Oddly fitting that my journey in this program would begin with our meeting on the first day (where she liberated me from lateness) and end with our joint project becoming realized. From a simple interaction came a fantastic friendship and partnership, and I truly couldn’t be more thankful for her dedication, kindness, hard work, and support.
No course description would have prepared me for the rollicking, indescribable, and altogether wonderful experience that was and is the Life Course Scholars Program. I have gained inexplicable knowledge, skills, and insight that I feel is seldom found elsewhere. The sense of community within our cohort is heartwarming, and I have met so many incredibly talented, aware, and intelligent individuals - I am excited for each and every one of their future work and careers. I cannot ever express my full gratitude for Dr. Lewis and Dr. Bussell for their dedication to this program and constant guidance and wisdom. They are truly the reason for our success and growth, and it is not an understatement when I say they are my role models, through and through. In the end, my journey through this program has been another amazing chapter, another irreplicable recipe in my life course (recipe name: potlucks of love, laughter, and life [course]). Not only did these past two quarters embellish my life with color and taste, it has given me the tools and knowledge to further intensify the hue, to better flavor the sustenance of this human existence. Truly, what more is there?