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I’m sure people who are involved in a major project lasting several years, whether it be a Ph D as I did, or designing a new product, or discovering something new, must experience the same feeling of flatness when it comes to an end. Where to next? In some cases whatever we were involved in was not just a work project but was always in the background of whatever we were doing, part of our lives. It is very difficult to settle down to something else particularly when rejections head your way.
After a lot of persistence I have finally found a University which will let me take my research a step further next year as a Visiting Fellow. I am not only looking forward to that but the Department I will be in is also involved in a number of other projects investigating other aspects of ageing which makes it even more exciting.
It saddens me that so many younger people, with no real interest in ageing, and no desire to pursue a career in that field do higher degrees in it as a soft option. It belittles the status of ageing as an important and very necessary area in which to pursue research. I suspect that the person I will be involved with next year will listen to my other ideas and let me follow them through. It takes a highly intelligent person, and a lateral thinker, to listen to and recognise the value of the ideas of others.
As a high school teacher for many years I always felt uncomfortable about an education system which tries to produce conformity in its students and clamps down on original thinking. I can’t help thinking that this creates, or encourages, a country which can get rid of a major industry (the car industry) and send its national air line offshore without any hesitation. Is this what our education system is creating, with people unable to find a different solution to its problems? Will the world eventually be ruled by countries which have education systems which encourage different ways of looking at things and creates new ideas? If so will these countries also move forward in recognising the value of human rights and do the two naturally go together?
Meanwhile I think about a friend of mine who was wonderfully creative, and solved a major problem in his lifetime. He retired and just sat at home deteriorating. We need to create a more intelligent society than that. We need to get out the message that creativity opportunities should be available throughout life and we need to create a society that allows for this.
I hope that next year this is where I’ll be allowed to go.