Over The Next Hill is a book about a group of old people or people who have retired. Thus, in this article, it is to reflect on the disengagement of the old people and aging, and the importance of devoting their life to the loved things with great passion to fight back the disengagement.
This book reflects a central problem troubling the old people in the united states: disengagement of the old people from the society after they retired and being a member of RVers may help to reduce such disengagement. In a tribe called Kaliai, when people there got old, they will not be respected and will become social dead until they still can contribute to society(22).
Thus, there is still a hierarchy of status even for people who have retired. The old people who are dependent on others will not get respect. This consists of the backgrounds of the meeting of a special group of RVers. In addition, there is a widespread fear of aging and becoming old in the US culture as being old means to depend on others and there are rejections leading to their retreat (42). These feelings are common in daily life. I often heard that my grandparents complained that they are burdens and useless as they are old. The things that old people can do are limited. It can be seen how people see being social dead as a bad thing.
In this book, it comes up a suggestion for old people who are afraid of being retreated and social dead: the importance of devoting their life to his or her loved things with passion and love. Despite the fear of getting old, there are choices for the old people. However, in fact, only a few cultures will expect older people to withdraw from productive life and it can be seen as a new stage of life for elders(43).
Under the influence of this idea, what happened is that for a special group of RVers composed of seniors, they still live a rather meaningful life even they are old. Instead of staying at home after retirement, a lot of seniors did not choose to stay at home but choose to live a rootless life like normands and carry research in places such as Papua New Guinea(22).
They feel that it is necessary to seek their meaning of life and to be respected by others in society through doing something such as being an RVer. In addition, some of them have found a new research area that is seldom touched upon by others and there is a little record about their life.
They are a special group of RVers as unlike others, they are old or senior and they not only travel but also make some research. This is surprising to me. It is because that in China when seniors do not need to work, they just will not feel relieved from jobs as they have to consider the issues of the next generation. This leads to how to spend a meaningful life for old people by asking questions such as what the hobbies are to seek to live a different life and to record their life.
Those seniors are telling us the concept of aging: on the one hand, it is rather a fearful thing as it can mean socially dead for the old people; on the other hand, there are choices for the old people and they can choose another a way to live as they like and still live a productive life.