By Lisa Batten Kunkleman
I’ve always wanted to be a professional student. If time and money allowed, I’d be signing up to audit all kinds of classes. No tests or projects for grades, thank you. Now that we have an empty nest, how fun it would be to sneak, unseen, into the back of my three college-kids’ classes and simply absorb the content, from dynamic teachers of course, so we can converse about what they’re learning.
Speaking of absorbing, I want to learn about all kinds of odd things. Like moss, for example. I understand that good old absorbent moss can help us monitor environmental pollution levels. If the moss disappears, look out earthlings. The same thing happens with falling birds, dwindling bees, and five-legged frog sightings.
I’d probably enjoy classes like The Joy of Garbage, The History of Toys, and Kitchen Chemistry, but not so much Underwater Basket Weaving and Advanced Calculus. I’d rather learn survival skills just in case I’m ever plopped in the wilderness and have to find my way home without becoming somebody’s lunch or starving.
Learning about parenting before I had four kids would have made sense. I’d also like a redo lesson on child development and abnormal psychology, which is either a funny or pathetic desire since I’m a psychology major. It would have been lots more fun to audit those psych classes instead of cramming like crazy for exams.
Don’t most of us wonder how things are made? I could binge watch YouTube How To’s. How in the world is duct tape made without getting all stuck together? Why doesn’t super glue stick to the bottle?
I’d love to take a field trip to see icebergs and another trip to lie in a hammock in a rain forest to watch for iguanas and toucans while listening for howler monkeys and bare-throated bellbirds. I have no idea what the last two are but they sound pretty amazing.
How incredible it would be to conquer fears that keep me nestled in my comfort zone, afraid to explore new heights and depths. That stifling fear that whispers don’t do it, either due to age, aches and pains, or physical risk. Or for fear of being judged as selfishly wasting time doing frivolous things.
I’d like to be that free-spirited, eccentric character every family needs, who enjoys life and provides spice to any conversation. If that’s my plan, I’d better get on with it as middle age is a little fickle on the knees, eyes and well, the rest of the body. I’m ready to explore and learn in this incredible classroom called “Life.”