It was the mid-‘90s. My hair was big, my attitude was even bigger, and my life skills were zero. It was my first year of university. Amid getting lost, not understanding basic mapping skills or abbreviations, being late for every class (and I would rather eat liver than waltz into a mid-session lecture about theoretical poetics in early modern American Literature) and thus missing every class, my first week was a miss. I finally registered my brain to my schedule and course load and started making it to the doors before they were locked.
One door revealed a large lecture hall, which fit more than 300 mounted chairs in four strata like a beige-grey rainbow with thin long tables spanning the front of each row. The room sprawled. Geography 110 is a simple credible science requisite for graduation and it was packed with arts and humanities students.
By Week Two: Group Project; I was freaking out. I was grouped with three other young students and the fourth was a “mature” student named Debb. I say “mature” now, but when I was 18 and Debb walked over to our group I remember thinking (rudely and horribly) – She is way too old to be here! I could not have been more wrong.
Debb was Wonder Woman. She was 42, divorced, had three children, a mortgage and still worked. She had decided to enroll into the Early Childhood Education program and later planned to become a teacher.
As Debb carried us Cichlids through our group project we realized that she was amazing and smart and handled so much more life than we did. We could barely feed ourselves let alone a whole family. I asked Debb why she came back to school so many years later, and her response was candid. She announced, “I was miserable, stale, old and hating. I hated so hard that I made my life hard. I had to make some changes, first some little, then some big. And those changes are making me happy.”
We all want a little slice of the happiness pie, and I will take mine with extra whip cream.
Max Dupree boasts, “We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.” I am still learning life, all its trinkets and treasure, and need to change, grow, molt, morph into a better version – the 2.0 Version.
And as I sit and write on this, the last day of summer 2018, I cannot help but find a piece on change so suitable. Change is on the wind, so don’t fight it. Embrace with open arms a tiny upgrade for the soul. Take what you love to do, and haven’t done in a while, and do it. Suck in that soul food before that cold gray cat, called Winter, blows at your door.
They say life starts at 40 or 50 or 60; maybe it restarts.