I failed at school. Not literally. I always performed adequately to pass. But my heart wasn’t in it, and thus neither was my head. I wasted those years. Of my few regrets, that’s one. Other young people, of course, did not waste those years. They learned — not only what they were studying but how to learn, how to connect ideas, how to form perspectives and opinions. They became educated early. (I atoned by researching and writing for the next 40 years.)
In retirement, the rich world of higher education remains open to us. We can go back. Millions are.
Here’s part of an email I received today from a friend who’s my age and lives in the same Canadian city. His note inspired this post:
"I think a lot of baby boomers will also turn to higher education in retirement, for social, intellectual, and cognitive reasons. I know we will... Both [my wife] and I will likely go back in some capacity. A friend in her late sixties who’s an extremely successful business person and sits on several corporate boards… says she will likely go to the London School of Economics for six months to pursue a degree. And education in Ontario is free after 65 in many universities!"
I searched Google for “baby boomers going back to university.” There were over 17,700,000 results (found in under one second).
This from Australia. This from Canada. This from the United States, where baby boomers are, in meaningful numbers, retiring to college towns to take advantage of the lectures, classes, concerts, and sports found at colleges and universities.
Here are two septuagenarians who met three years ago while attending university. They fell in love and married this year.
Some seniors simply “audit" classes for the pleasure. Others get PhDs.
In Ontario, where I live, as my friend pointed out in his email, education is free to seniors over 65 at some schools, including the outstanding university in our city. In the U.S., tuition is often deeply discounted for seniors or, in a few cases, free.
One of my good friends, a 93-year-old who lives a short walk from my place during the pleasant Ontario summers and in Tallahassee, Florida with his attorney wife during the unpleasant Ontario winters, attends classes at the University of Florida several times a week.
“Keeps the old noggin’ clicking,” he told me. It seems to work. His noggin clicks beautifully.
Feel free to email me about this post.
I probably can’t respond but would appreciate your insight or story or query, which I might refer to in a future post.