Friday , 23 March 2018

Michele Stevens Bernard: Carpe Diem Y’all

There is no shelf-life on knowing more. A simple concept, yes, but this awareness was actually a big ah-ha moment for me while taking a writer’s retreat and visiting friends at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee this past summer.  Normally, I tend to lean toward feeling, that because I am woman of a certain age, or because my significant graduations are long behind me, or because my ideal resume is built, I’m pretty much done in the learning department.

While sitting on the side of a mountain, waiting on a 4th of July fireworks display to begin, I observed the crowd around me. Behind me, were students I gauged to be roughly the same age as my sons. Beside me, were students I gauged to be my parents’ age, and with me, were my peers. This diverse group of students was together in this place for this period of time for the same reason: To learn something new.

My point is this: now that the kids are back-to-school, why miss out on the fun of learning something new? Classes aren’t just for kids anymore, and they are starting up everywhere, all over our fair city. Collin College, the City of McKinney, places of worship, clubs, hobbyists, artists, musicians, linguists, and businesses that support any of the above are ready and willing to teach us what we want to know. Heck, even our grocery stores, are offering fun learning opportunities these days.

I just received my McKinney Parks and Recreation Activity Guide in this week’s mail. Have you seen this thing? I am so impressed with the number and variety of events, activities, and classes available to me, simply because I live here. Scanning, the book, I see the things I enjoy, and frankly, expect from Parks and Rec, swimming, sports, exercises classes. Then I turn the page. Robotic Engineering. What? Video Animation, Game Design, Lego Builders, Chess Academy, Oil Painting Classes. My mind is officially blown.

Reading on, I learn I can also take classes in Modeling, Basic Auto Maintenance, Money Management and Etiquette. There is even a class just for women called Gridiron Princess that will teach me the fundamentals of football. Where do I sign up?

As a parent, this is my first school year as an empty-nester. While sitting on the side of that mountain in Tennessee this summer listening to the multi-generational class around me compare notes, and talk of upcoming fall schedules, I considered the college schedule my son would be putting together for his fall. Then, I considered the fall in front of me. I love swimming, music, movement and words. I love anything and everything that has to do with living a creative life.

This fall, I will be taking Aqua Fitness with Parks and Rec, Beginning Guitar with John Wynn at The Artist’s Loft in downtown McKinney, and The Artists’ Way with a group of artists. I will also continue to participate in Book Club on a monthly basis, and meet with writer friends to share and hone my skills. Being the mother of three sons, I’ve logged years of bleacher time, so I’m not so sure I really need to take the Gridiron Princess class. If you talk to my boys or my husband however, they might beg to differ, and encourage me to sign up anyway.

Carpe Diem Y’all! Michele

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