My grandmother enrolled in the local community college just when I was just starting as a freshman in a college about 6 hours away . She was 79 years old. It was a big deal for someone her age to attend college classes. She was so cool.
She was always happy and always doing things. Always.
She also didn’t have much money. But that never seemed to be a problem for her when it came to finding something to do.
Whenever I went to her house, she would look around and find something small to press into the palm of my hand. It could have been a button, a small spoon or a figurine. She always said, I don’t have much to give you, but whatever I have I want to give to you now and I hope you will remember this moment. I still have most of those trinkets, but more important, I have the memories. I learned so much from her wise musings about life and people and things.
And then she decided to go to college. That’s when she really taught me about living and aging and being.
She loved taking college history classes. She told me, “They talk about Amelia Earhart, but I knew her because I was there.” She said she could talk all about the Great Depression, WWI and WWII but more importantly, she also enjoyed learning new things and refreshing her memories. She still had a childlike wonder and curiosity. It gave her and her friends (she recruited a group of women to go back to college with her) the opportunity to find themselves. They were no longer caregivers or employees, because they were all, at that point, retirees or widows. They discovered they could do things they couldn’t do before.
Gargy said she absorbed more as an older student than when she was younger and felt less pressure because she was going to school because she wanted to. She said going to college with young people helped her to move with the times. And, she said she planned to take her time getting her degree, perhaps in 20 – 25 years. She died when she was almost 100. Her strong desire to learn and move and be stayed with her to the very end.
Try something new. It will challenge you. It might scare you. It might change your life. But, It will make you grow and learn.