ElderCollege Chatter

Marlene Robertson

VIU Eldercollege

Monday, October 7 2013

Life is full of stop signs and, as we age, it seems more are put in front of us every day. Some stop signs we can’t ignore; it would be downright dangerous, but a lot of them can be translated as, “You’re too old to do that.” I say phooey.

Case in point: Fall of 2013 is the twentieth anniversary of ElderCollege. There was no Vancouver Island University twenty years ago, just a group of people from Parksville and Qualicum Beach who wanted an organized and easily available way to continue learning for life.

Twenty years. That’s a big milestone; a real coming of age, but in many ways much more than that. The legacy these people left is a unique learning program with no homework, no exams, no courses and all just for old people. Thank heavens for that. Can’t you see the course calendar: Cane Management 101, Dressing Up Orthopedic Shoes, Learning Scooter Rules and, my favourite, How to Suck in Your Belly Without Swallowing Your Teeth. Sign up early for this last class because it fills up fast.

I’m just joking, of course, but older people, elders, retirees and senior citizens are words that mean many different things to different people. When I was eighteen, thirty was “old.” How things change. Now it seems a mere child. Sixty-five means you are finally starting to mature and I would say that by eighty-five we should be able to rest on our laurels and maybe slow down a bit if we choose to. I guess what I’m getting at is that you shouldn’t be afraid of the word elder, especially as in Vancouver Island University ElderCollege. A lot of people think the classes are designed for doddering old fools, but that’s not so. Some of us may do a bit of doddering now and again, but after three years of taking classes I still haven’t met a fool. In fact, you can now purchase a membership to VIU ElderCollege at the tender age of fifty. 

We all know that the Baby Boomers won’t go quietly into the night, and although I’m way past the Baby Boomer age, I won’t either. As long as I breath in and out, can put one foot in front of the other (or learn to drive a scooter while I suck in my belly) and have a more or less functioning brain, I intend to keep learning, growing and being a vital part of my community.

The days of sitting in the old rocking chair on the veranda and watching life pass you by are long over. Whether you have a university degree, a trade certificate or graduate pass from elementary school, you can enrich your life by becoming a VIU ElderCollege member. Volunteering to teach a course or joining one of the EC committees is also a way to keep your mind sharp and your life interesting. 

For more information and to register call toll free 1-866-734-6252 or email pqcampus@viu.ca.

Happy twentieth anniversary ElderCollege!