By Debra Bass
Stanley Faer, a retired television director from New York, was 64 years old when he joined Osher. He will celebrate his 80th birthday this December and he says that Osher is one of the things that enriches his life, “and it makes my wife very happy, so you can’t beat that."
He said that he’s read and heard the research that the best way to preserve emotional and physical well-being is to remain socially engaged, but he didn’t need research to guide him. As we age, social circles shrink, but science consistently concludes that older adults who spend more time learning and interacting with a wide range of people have better health.
“When I retired from television and moved here around 2004, I knew I wanted to stay active,” Faer said. “I immediately started asking people where I should take classes and they all recommended the Institute of Continued Learning.”
Unfortunately, he didn’t realize how captivating the program would be before he and his wife bought the perfect home in Valley Center — about 38 miles away.
However, the distance didn’t temper his involvement or enthusiasm with Osher and other programs at UC San Diego.
Faer served as president of Osher for three terms and then as treasurer. He’s been on the Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board, Chancellor’s Associates Council, chaired the Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health Advisory Council and sat on Geisel Library Advisory Board among other volunteer posts.
What would you like to tell your 35-year-old self?
Keep an open mind and listen to other opinions that don’t necessarily agree with your own. I can say it now, but my 35-year-old self was closed-minded. And I see it today, a lot of young people are closed-minded, especially about politics on both sides. We have to listen to each other and get other people’s opinions, but back then I thought I’m right and other people are wrong. I used to be very active politically, but I didn’t listen as much as I should have.
How would you suggest that people work on becoming open-minded?
Well, don’t get on the internet! I’m kidding, but I would encourage everyone no matter their age to know where you’re getting your facts from. There’s so much misleading information out there, and it’s not just on the left or the right. Really ask where this information came from? Who is reporting it? What are other people saying? Is there another side that you’re not hearing?
Why do you regret not going to college considering your successful career?
You miss something. There’s a certain thing you miss by not going to college, I think. At the time, I was working for CBS, and my boss talked me out of leaving for college. He said that I had a great future ahead of me. He was right, but he was wrong also. I think that if I’d gone to college, it would have rounded me out. It’s that rounding out that you miss. But I never lost my love of learning.
What are you looking forward to in 2020?
I’m working on the committee to develop senior housing on campus. I think that’s a great opportunity. My wife and I live in a community of all ages, not a retirement community, because that works better for us. My wife is 13 years younger than me, so that keeps her young, and that keeps me young.
For more information on the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute visit their website and consider attending an upcoming open house.