So I get it; summer’s over. As of tomorrow, it is officially fall. If you haven’t accepted it yet, you better get over it. Fall is here, whether you like it or not.
I’m back in school, for the third year. It was supposed to be two years, but I couldn’t handle more than two classes at a time, so it’s gonna be three years instead. Going back to school this past week was the hardest it’s been yet. Just ask my family. My poor, sweet, undeserving family. I definitely had a harder time than my kids, and I have an almost 13 year old. I for sure drank more wine last week than they did. Or, at least, I better have!!
Part of my reluctance involved the fact that I have two poetry classes, and I am not a poet. Although I love to write a good limerick now and then, true poetry is so hard on my middle aged brain. It’s just not really my thing. I’m a prose girl (see above blog.)
My first day of class was totally cliche: late to class; called on at random within 5 minutes of late arrival; asked to introduce myself (first); forced to sit in a circle (ugh); forced to learn everyone’s names in the class (what?); forced to fill out questionnaire about self and asked “why are you taking this class”, which I left blank; also asked to name 5 contemporary poets (Nikki Giovanni only one I knew, because I had seen her book in Barnes and Noble recently.) And last but not least, forced to memorize “The Road Not Taken” for the next class. Sigh. Yes, it was like that.
Those of you who haven’t been back to school in middle age are currently thanking your lucky stars and congratulating yourself on your wisdom to stay in the work world, despite its horrors. After beating myself up a bit, I came home and had a come-to-Jesus-talk with myself. I said, ‘Self, you’ve got 29 more classes to get through, so you must put the wine/whine bottle down and put on your Big Girl panties.”
On the day between classes, I spent the entire morning on email and phone, trying to figure out how to log in to my class assignments. Which led me to thinking that perhaps they should hire someone to run a new department: Middle-Aged-Student Affairs. They have a new system/log in procedure, which I was unable to discuss with my dorm mates and sorority sisters, because I AM 42 YEARS OLD! So, my newly devised morning study schedule went down the toilet the very first study day as I sat on hold for someone half my age to help me log on. Really super for the middle aged ego!
Before you stop reading this and enter a severe depression, my second day of school went much more smoothly. My classes were actually interesting; my classmates were lovely, participatory, and smart; my professors were less scary; my memorized poem went decently, if not perfectly; and I knew we had a holiday coming! What a fantastic time for a holiday.
I was able to enjoy a few days of vacation with my family, and afterwards, as I tackled my homework, I felt oddly peaceful. And no wine was even involved! After working for several hours, the time flew. When I took a break, I realized that I was actually enjoying myself again. Poetry is much more inspiring than I first thought. It’s like a puzzle that you have to try to figure out, and I love a word puzzle. I remembered my love of layered meanings and writing that is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I felt ready to blog again, so that says a lot.
So, maybe this poetry thing won’t be so bad after all. I still am a long way from writing it, but studying it might help more than I realized. Read Robert Frost’s “A Road Not Taken” and you’ll be surprised that it doesn’t mean what you think it means. I mean, really read it, and then read it again. Are you confused at what road he’s taking? That’s what he meant. Pretty smart and cool, I think.
Today I feel back in the saddle again, on this Labor Day. I didn’t mind working today at all. When you are doing something you enjoy, it’s not work. But to do my kind of work, you have to unplug and get away from it all in order to find that creative, inspired place away from distractions. So on this Labor Day, I wish the same for all of you: to unplug and take a break from your day-to-day grind in order to find what inspires you — you might even be surprised at what you find!
Take care of yourselves and each other,