Those of us past middle-age share a perspective that’s possible only
through life experience. We are aware that time is short, that the most
valuable things we’ve learned are not necessarily easy, simple or quick,
but that strenuous effort and complexity add quality to life. Slow
is often preferable to fast. We know that reason, deliberation and
delayed gratification are often the only sure way of reaching long-term
The “golden years” is a metaphor for perspective, nothing more, and
nothing less. Perspective is why the final chapters of life are
important. Our lives seem to matter more with age because of the context
our evolving perception brings to bear on our past experience and on our
hope for the future. The more we learn and expand our knowledge of the
world, the more meaningful our understanding becomes. Wisdom is an ally
of age and a friend to experience, but it’s more like a lover to a
reasoned effort to better understand the world and our place in it.
Circumspective reflection is a characteristic of maturity, and once this
effort achieves critical mass, it becomes an unrelenting thirst for
insight. Many people despair about failing to experience the joy that
the media lead us to expect during the golden years because aging alone
is insufficient to produce such experience. Only a sustained effort to
understand the mysteries of life yields such reward. This is why so many
others, even in ill health, seem to defy hopelessness with enthusiasm to
their very last breath.
concept, is a metaphor for intellectual maturity and represents an
ambitious quest on behalf of posterity.
September University, the book, is a call to action, a social
forecast, and above all a passionate argument that a bright future
depends upon the experiential wisdom of aging citizens.
Sept-U is a state
of mind: it has no physical address, no faculty, and no staff. Instead,
September University is a concept for a new way of aging, with the aim
of erasing the notion of retirement from our vocabulary. It's a vision
of retirement that replaces a time devoted to doing very little with a
time of reflection, when people who've entered the September of life
have the opportunity to make their greatest contribution to the
generations to follow.
A September University frame of mind means looking forward to sifting
through a half-century or more of experience, sorting those things that
are truly important from those that aren't, and finding ways to pass on
been writing about self-education for more than two decades. I've
published eight books on the subject and one novel. My latest book,
The Rapture of
Maturity: A Legacy of Lifelong Learning, is concerned with
using our knowledge and experience in our later years and leaving the
world a better place in the process.
September University: Rediscover the Wonder of
Existence and Help Shape the Future is available now. Order below
Press web site. --
Charles D. Hayes
Email Charles at: