Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Jumping Back Into Life-Long Learning in Retirement


The past couple of days I've been looking online at various backpacks and totes. That's right folks, I said backpacks!  I've looked at the used market, at pretty Vera Bradley totes at briefcases and more.  I've even contemplated making something myself.  Why, you may ask?  Well because put simply, pretty shortly I'm going to have to carry lots of stuff-even more stuff than I tote now, and many of those things will be heavy. 



Some readers may recall that a few years back I returned to college as a full time student.  My intention at the time was to major in either German or Non-Profit management.  I loved that time. I found it energizing to go to classes with people of my daughter's age on up. The classes were interesting and challenging.  Unfortunately at that time I jumped in too early with both feet and after a year and a half, decided I needed to step back. I was still running a book business, treating my quilting as a full time job and the committee chair of four volunteer groups, all of which did things in different areas of the city. 

 Not too very long after that, I began to seriously investigate the relocation issue and classroom learning took a back seat.  While I was overwhelmed with fifteen semester hours of classes each term, I really did miss the classroom challenge. I did try to take classes online, and I enjoyed those classes, however, I've come to realize that for me real classroom learning (with the give and take involved) is a kind of communication on a different level.

For the past year, I've been involved in the beginnings of a four year intensive study of the bible and its cultural and historical significance that meets one night a week.  After taking that class, I realized that I needed more mental engagement-the kind I get by going out of the house. I really, really want to go back to college. I maybe want to get a degree. I just don't want do either full time. ( I've realized that getting a degree has value of it's own, whether I use it for "work" or not).  An hour north of me is a school that offers degrees at all levels in fiber arts.  I would really, really love to get involved with this program. That said, it's a degree commitment, a long commute, and I would need grants and scholarships. Too much to just jump into.




With that in mind, I have decided to test the waters with two "Olli" or Osher Lifelong Learning classes.  I had chosen regular college before because I wanted to interact with all ages.  Keeping an open mind, this time I decided to try a  couple Olli classes (which are close to me).  Everyone I know has had a good experience by going this route, and after looking at their catalog, I found classes that interested me and I figured would be challenging.  Of course, it's a chance to meet new friends as well! 




And so it is, that starting mid-September, I will be taking a total of three in person type courses.  In addition to my intensive (I read the entire old testament and Hebrew Bible, literally in 9 months) four year course, I am taking two fall semester courses through Olli by way of the University of Denver.  The first course jumped out at me, as it has to do with writing life stores (remember those family cookbooks and family memories?). The second class has to do with modern American Short Stories.

It may be that I've gone from not enough to too much, and as I write this, I'm considering whether one class is enough for this trial run and I should up and give someone else a chance (both classes have waiting lists). Perhaps one class is enough for me. 

I mean, seriously, for a low energy person, I have more than enough going on. I still volunteer one day a week, I belong to two weekly meet-up groups, I have a church bible study, I exercise four days a week and I now take physical therapy. Add that to my house, garden, sewing and the temporary madness that is having me considering a cookie business now that the cottage law has changed and well...........phew!!  And yes, I still keep Friday completely unscheduled, this is all Monday through Thursday

Either way, I've downloaded my book, started the first chapter and am truly exited about experimented with memoir writing and more. One half of this class will be small group sharing and critiquing each week, which is new to me, but I am ready to go forward. The more I look at the reading for the short story class, the more I tell myself, you can do this.  More importantly, you may regret it if you don't.

And so, as my low energy, totally relaxed, lazy summer comes to an end in two and a half weeks, I will be heading back to school. On my own terms.

I'll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, where to put all the totes in my life? One for each class. One to hold all the yarns and so on for my knitting travels. One for my towel and change of clothes after swimming. I'm beginning to think I need one of those by the front door cubbies-all for me!  Who knew!


11 comments:

  1. Good for you! All this learning keeps our brains humming.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If the closest university was not 2 1/2 hours away I think I would love to take a few more classes. Learning is a wonderful thing.

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea Im grateful that I live in a place where I can do this. Are there community colleges where you live?

      Delete
  3. I've heard of Osher Lifelong Learning but don't know much about it. I'll be interested in reading about your experience and reactions. Best of luck with it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I apologize Tom, I did put a link into my Osher center now, so you can go to it. I'm looking forward to it.

      Delete
  4. Why do you think you are a low energy person? All the things you have going on must take lots of energy. If you are low energy, I think I'm a sloth!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I require a lot of down time and a lot of sleep.And you'll notice even with my schedule, except for one day a week I have no morening commitments and I keep a three day weekend free for being slothful

      Delete
    2. Maybe high energy types could learn from you, Barb. If they took more time off they might accomplish more in the long run.

      Delete
    3. Maybe high energy types could learn from you, Barb. If they took more time off they might accomplish more in the long run.

      Delete
  5. Our Lifelong Learning program has provided some wonderful social connections in addition to its education aspects. We have connected with many of the members, and our social life has blossomed as a result. Crossing my fingers you will enjoy.

    ReplyDelete

Living With One Car in Retirement-Or Any Time

From 1987 until 1996, my husband and I were a one car family-with one and then two children. In 1997, we inherited a second car. Which ...