Living the Dream: College & Lovie

Part of living my dream has included something I never expected:  being back in college full-time.  Even in trying to imagine what my future might be, I could NOT have dreamed that I would be returning to college.

Fear and Trepidation

I admit that I was excited to be going back to school, primarily because I love learning.  But, honestly, I’ve never stopped learning, I just didn’t do it officially or in a classroom setting.  Even greater than my excitement, though, was the fear and trepidation of this new endeavor that kept me awake at night.

Fear of Fibro:  You see, since the extreme flare-up of my fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome, I never know when my muscles are going to seize-up (which they do when I walk even as little as a block), so I’ve had to start using a rollator walker.  That way, if my leg/calf/feet/abdominal muscles decide to rebel, I have an immediate place to sit, and I’m not writhing on the floor (or the ground). The college campus is quite large, and I was afraid that my muscle cramps might get the best of me, but I was going to give it—quite literally—the “old college try.”

Trepidation at the Age Difference:  Quite naturally, most of the students in my classes are about 18 to 20 years old.  At 61, I am generally three times their age, and the 40+ year age difference caused quite a bit of apprehension about “fitting in.”  (In retrospect, of course, I don’t know why I was worried about this because I have NEVER fit in anywhere in my entire life, so I’ve had a lot of experience dealing with that subject.)  I hoped to be accepted as a participating class member, but I was prepared to be a loner.

Fear Can’t Stop Me

Despite the challenges of enrolling in school (absolutely EVERYTHING has changed since I was in classes in 1978 and even since attending the Adult Degree Program in Vermont in 1989), I was determined to get it all done and register for classes.  I didn’t understand how to use the online registration (the instructions are vague and illogical—for example, when dropping a class, you go to the Add Class Screen), I didn’t know whether to register as a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student (it makes a difference in the financial aid for which you qualify), and I didn’t have a clue what Wingspan or Blackboard were that everyone was talking about.  I have to admit that we probably were quite amusing to the ladies in the registration and financial aid offices.  There we were—Lovie and PawPaw—both gray-haired senior citizens and me on a walker, standing in line with our forms and identifications, right alongside hundreds of fresh-faced, scantily-clad teenagers on their cell phones.  I’m quite sure that they thought of us as “doddering,” and they were all nice, with smiles that said, “you go, Granny.”  But you could tell they wondered why on earth we were there.  Even in that line, I was quite unsure I was up to the challenge, but I had never let fear stop me.  It didn’t stop me from leaving a secure job and selling all we owned, it didn’t stop me from moving across the country to pursue my dreams, and I wasn’t going to let it stop me from being a student.  And so… a couple of very long days each week, Lovie packs up her books and waddles off to classes.

My Textbooks

My Textbooks

The Fun Part

In my writing class, the teacher got me right away, even though most of the students were somewhat unsure of how to treat me or what to say.  But in my acting classes… oh, those came as huge surprises.  You see, it hadn’t occurred to me that I had had experiences of which most of the other students had only begun to dream.  They’re in the thinking about acting or longing to act or planning to pursue acting phases.  Some have done school or community productions, but most haven’t yet embarked on seeking performance opportunities.  On other hand, I am in the “here’s what I’ve done” and “here’s what I’m doing” phases.  They listen to the Glass Animals music, and there I am on the album cover for the Glass Animals.  So I’ve realized that they love asking me about my experiences, about actors and directors with whom  I’ve worked, things I’ve learned on set and off.  It’s like I’m a storyteller, and you can find several of them sitting around me, asking questions, listening, hugging me.  Sometimes guys will talk to me because they know that in a little while, cute girls are going to be talking to me, and I introduce everyone to everyone else.  So Granny Lovie is the perfect way to meet a cute new girl (I even had one handsome young football player thank me for the introduction I’d made).

The Bottom Line for Me:  JUST LIVE!

I am loving this stuff.  I am becoming braver with every new adventure.  It just blows my mind what awesome and wonderful things happen with each one.  Every day, I look forward to what new discovery or escapade I’ll have, each night I am grateful for what the day held for me (and VERY tired on school days!).  I’m making new, exciting acquaintances, learning interesting and valuable lessons, building relationships that are meaningful and precious.  Living my dream is just plain fun.

Thanks for being here!

Dream Big!  It’s more fun yet costs the same as a small dream!



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