A Day of Generations

Age is a lovely gift, as is the opportunity to connect across generations. I had that experience more than once yesterday, and I found myself grateful.

In the afternoon, I met with a trusted elder who is double my age.

I value him so much — his stories, his perspectives, and how he has lived over time. He’s a Patriarch in every sense of the word, and people use that word in connection to him, within his immediate and extended family and within an ever-expanding, assembled family of former students who number in the hundreds.

“I was wondering… would you give me –atriarch lessons?” I asked him playfully but sincerely, hoping to swap out the P for an M. In response, he laughed playfully but sincerely, and with delight.

Then, upon leaving this wonderful time together, I immediately went to campus and met with a new student who is half my age.

This time was likewise so meaningful. It was sweet to connect about the newness of campus life, give some of my insights about Ann Arbor and the University, and remember what it was like to make the transition from high school to college — a period I remember well, yet one that feels so long ago.

It was so long ago. Half my life ago.

Ian said recently, “When you started in campus ministry, we were 10% older than the students. Now we’re 100% older.” That’s true this year. It feels rich and wonderful.

And all of this leads me to say once again (truly, I think of this often) that the mid-30s feel like magic.

There is something about this time and the ability to flow between generations, receiving and giving in all directions. It’s lovely. It’s remarkably formative and generative.

As one who was born on the second day of the year, my calendar year and age-year always exist together in parallel ways. Now that we’re making the turn toward the final portion of 2018, I recognize that in three months, I’ll also move from the mid-thirties to the late thirties. When I do, nothing will shift suddenly except a number. But goodness, I think I will always treasure these years; I have never loved an age more than this.

Here’s to what’s next and all the connections that will follow.

Renee Roederer

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