I’m forever indebted to my younger colleagues who bring such perspective and humor to the workplace.

I can’t imagine an atmosphere occupied by only older people, like me.

At 62, I know that, realistically, my life is two-thirds over, and when I actually said those words for the first time, they sounded very scary.

But being with young people really makes me forget about my age, which is a good thing.

I remember my late father-in-law, who died at 98, saying he loved being a college professor because he was around young people all the time and they made him feel young.

He stayed “young” until he was very old in years. He loved to socialize, converse and stay active, even when he had macular degeneration so bad he could see practically nothing.

But you’d never know it.

One time we were shopping in a department store in Massachusetts, and he said he’d like to just sit up front by the cashiers and wait for us. We shopped maybe 15 minutes, and when we went to check out, there was Frank, chatting up all the store clerks who formed a ring around his chair, laughing as he told his famous jokes.

When Frank was in his mid-90s and heading toward moving into an assisted living facility, he said to me one day: “I don’t want to go into a nursing home because they’re full of old people!”

Frank may have been old in years, but he was forever young.

My mother was the same way. She had a youthful nature and was active until her body wouldn’t let her be, physically, at least. She died at 92.

She loved having people around, going for a ride, reading books, laughing and having a party. The more the merrier.

My colleague, Emily, is 23 and reminded me the other day that I am older than her mother, which at first glance could have made me feel ancient.

But while contemplating topics for my next column, Emily posed an idea, one I sloughed off until she kept bugging me to do it.

“What are your hopes and dreams?” she asked. “Write about that.”

I told her I was too old to have hopes and dreams — that those types of columns are for people her age.

She persisted, asking me to cite some of the things I hope to do before I die.

“What’s on your bucket list?” she said.

I began to scour my brain for answers. I don’t think anyone has ever asked me that question.

When I identified one thing I’d like to do before I croak, Emily would ask for another.

If I couldn’t think of anything right off, she’d ask again.

My short list began to grow.

I want to go horseback riding, like I did, a lot, when I was young. I want to find a stable that takes good care of its horses and offers trail riding for people of all ages.

I want to go to Scotland, home of my paternal grandmother, who moved to the U.S. when she was young. I want to see the things she saw, hear her Scottish accent, and walk terrain she walked — which she always told me was much like Maine.

I’d also like to publish a book, though I’m thinking it might just be a collection of my columns.

Staying a whole week on the Maine coast, in a house right on the beach, would be lovely.

And I’d be delighted to spend a week eating authentic Mediterranean food — my favorite.

I want to return to Vienna and the Musikverein concert hall to hear the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra play Strauss again.

It’d be fun to see some Broadway shows in New York — something I haven’t done in years — and spend some time in Washington, D.C.

Beyond that, I’d simply like to have leisure time to read lots of books, cook meals and bake, using some of the zillions of recipes I have clipped from magazines over the years and those I copied from my mother’s handwritten favorites.

“See?” Emily said. “You’re never too old to have hopes and dreams.”

I like the way she thinks. And, thanks to her, I gleaned a column out of it, too.

But more than that, for an hour or so I managed to get out of my day-to-day mindset, spread my wings and dream a little.

There’s a lot we older folks can learn from our younger peers.

Anyone who tells you different is just plain misinformed.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter for 30 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.

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