April 12, 2017


Life, the Great Classroom

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.”

19 thoughts on “Life, the Great Classroom

  1. Listen to the whispers of your heart, my friend. May you make your wishes and hopes come true.

  2. I also take life to be a classroom

  3. May your spirit for ever soar.. As you follow your heart to accomplishing your Dreams..
    Many thanks for your recent visit.. 🙂 lovely to meet you 🙂

  4. Your post reads to me like you enjoy “new and different.” I’m with you ma’am, and hope you will extract some of what is on your current bucket list, putting these instead on your “done and done” list. I suspect some college professors wouldn’t mind you taking an auditors seat for a course or two. After all, they wouldn’t be grading you, or taking conferences with you.

    There used to be a downtown space here in Indianapolis that offered more “interesting” courses for very modest fees. I know because me and my mother once taught a few. These were all one-off, no quizzes or tests. Thankfully for you, the Internet even has classes by satellite now. You might even get to chat across the pond, in Europe or Asia. Just a mention that could have you ticking off boxes lickety-split.

    By now however, you could design a few life lesson plans of your own. We didn’t reach middle age isolated from wisdom. I wish you every adventure you can still muster.

    I spend time with able ladies and gents who are still grabbing a class or two a week, and they are 10-20 years my seniors. Highest and Best!

    • Thanks so much for taking g time to write such a nice reply. I’m wondering what classes you and your mom taught. It seems there are learning opportunities everywhere these days. And on line oh my gosh. I get mini lessons throughout the day. Yesterday was all about coffee. Facts I wouldn’t know. Pretty fun. Today in sitting on a pier writing and reading blogs. That’s always high on my priority list of enjoyment. Had all
      my family except my husband who was tending our animals so we could come to my mom’s lake house. More like Mother’s Day than Easter in a way. Hope you had a delightful day.

      • I wish I could now remember exact titles, but I do know they were often off the beaten path, upbeat, and inspirational.

        Today has been quiet, but purposeful. I said thanks 🙏 3 times upon arising, then did a few chores, and spent some time researching flight, cars, and hotels for upcoming community judging competitions. Always do a bit of blog hopping too!

        I love Sunday. Today being Easter makes it even more special.

  5. I would gladly go with you to all the places mentioned, only I am not sure about the rain forest for fear of the large insects that would surely bite me.

  6. I agree with you!! So much to learn and adventures to have! I would love to go see the howler monkeys as well and the bellbirds! If you make it to see them please post the pics on here. 🙂

  7. And what a great classroom it is! I would also love to lie in a hammock in the rainforest.

  8. Would you look at how autocorrect spelled hammock? It’s worse than I am I think.

  9. Don’t you just hate that voice that says, “Don’t do it!” ? Man, I’ve given her a really good talking to at times, and she’s just so PUSHY! All those things you mention, Lisa, like a smorgasbord – I’d be right there with you!! Go pick, choose, and eat up! 🙂

  10. Totally agree on what you said. I am a travel blogger.. would love to stay connected with you here is a link to my blog https://valoniapiresblog.wordpress.com

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