An ophthalmologist, my husband Jack underwent years of medical training. When he reflects on this time – particularly the earliest parts of it—he, like many of his ilk, admits to at least a fleeting period of preoccupation with getting or having the symptoms of the diseases he studied. I’ve always wondered, when regaled with his harrowing clinical tales, if such an analog to medical-student syndrome exists and what it might look like for my colleagues and I who study gerontology.
Purpose will never come from finding better and better activities. Opportunities for purpose arise from how those activities are started. It is time for us to throw away the activity schedule.
Calls for a de-youthanized science are not lofty, liberal political appeals; they are attempts to actually purify gerontological science and practice. A de-youthanized science means a more valid, generalizable science—a science, for example, that adequately samples older adults in the service of providing sufficiently evidence-based recommendations for diagnosis and treatment
I am certainly not blind to how fortuitously my interest in aging aligns with the needs of an aging world—and I certainly don’t need additional convincing that my decision to forgo law school was in equal measure, wise and slightly prescient. But maybe you do.