We started the day with tasty breakfast pizza and proceeded to an icebreaker activity and a lecture by Professor Lewis about various sociological aspects of aging. I was surprised by a few things that I learned; for example, only around 5% of the elderly live in institutionalized settings and around 40% live independently. I expected the number for institutionalized living to be significantly higher, and so this was a pleasant revelation. I also couldn’t help but smile when seeing photos of bodybuilding seniors and other physically active elderly people, living as if they were twenty years younger. The prospect of aging can be daunting to many. Despite the inevitable physical ailments that growing age presents to the mind and body, the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle can delay the aging process considerably, as exemplified by the youthful seniors. They are truly role models, and I wish to be like them when I reach their age.
We also had an activity where we wrote about how we envisioned our lives to be like in 50 years time. My life, body, and mind will certainly be radically different when I am 70 years old, and I had difficulty in writing about specific things. The only thing that I was confident will not change were my core values. Although almost nothing can withstand the passage of time, I hope that my resolute resolution in my values will serve as an anchor in my life.
The retreat was a wonderful start to the quarter, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I look forward to the rest of program and creating new memories with my professors and classmates.