Osher Online - Winter 2021

Message from Advisory Council Chair Jack Wax




There’s a Tunnel at the End of This Light

Or, do I have this backwards, and there’s a light at the end of this tunnel? I guess it depends whether I’m feeling pessimistic or optimistic. Given a choice between the two perspectives, I prefer optimism, but sometimes I let my guard down and pessimism seeps in.

Given the circumstances we find ourselves in this winter, it’s understandable that sometimes we all see the tunnel at the end of the light. Stay home or risk getting COVID. Wear a face mask or risk spreading virus to others. Hurry up at the grocery store or have groceries delivered. One choice, though, is easier to make—Zoom or wait for the pandemic to end before taking an Osher@Mizzou class. I chose Zoom. And I hope you will too.

The reality is that Osher@Mizzou can’t hold in-person classes because … well, you know all too well. The reality is that for most people—especially those who are our age—this is one of the weirdest, loneliest holiday seasons in years because … same reason. I’m planning on Zooming with my kids this holiday season. I’m sure many of you will have to do the same. It’s not as fulfilling as being there in-person, but it is the next-best thing. 

I’m also planning my winter semester of Osher classes. As usual, I am looking forward to their start because I know exactly what I’ll find: a community of bright, enthusiastic learners, led by engaging instructors. Pandemic or not, Osher goes on. I’m looking forward to the fascinating discussions, to the amazing presentations, to being introduced to new ideas and new books. I won’t pretend that it’s the same as being in-person. But it is rewarding. It’s stimulating. It’s something to look forward to.

I’m not going to go so far as to say that Osher is like a bright star shining through the cold of a winter’s night, and that wise men and women are following that star, but, well…. sort of. Excuse my hyperbole. In the middle of this winter, there is a lot to be optimistic about. 2020 will soon become a memory. 2021 will be the year of the vaccine and, I hope, of being together again. In the meantime, if you haven’t tried Osher classes through Zoom, please consider doing so. I can’t think of a better way to start the New Year than with new classes, full of new ideas in a caring community.

Here’s a New Year’s resolution I hope to keep and I hope you will, too. If I find myself looking for the tunnel at the end of the light, I’ll put aside any pessimism and do whatever I can to turn my circumstances around. If Zoom is the only way to get together with friends, relatives and my fellow Osher learners, then I’ll be thankful for Zoom.

- Jack

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