For the past 30 years I have lived my life semester to semester. My kids were in school; I began school shortly after Jenna began school, and a year before I graduated with my Masters, I began teaching at UVU. That's a long time in the classroom!
I have loved nearly every minute of this semester life. Nearly. Going on to campus is like time standing still. Campus life is static - although I get new students every semester, the names and faces change, but their ages and stages don't. Students have similar concerns, similar lives to those who came before them, even 20 years ago, and I would imagine my students next semester will be similar. So I can walk onto campus, and nothing has changed; every single day I teach the same lessons, see the same people, hear the same thoughts.
And to the students, this is all brand new - they think they're the originators of thoughts, views, proposals, issues. No; Vagina Monologues has been performed for years - new actors, new audience, same issues. There's always an appeal for better parking, smaller class sizes, variety in menus, always, every single semester.
I love this about UVU. I am comfortable here. I know the styles, know the lingo, know the music, know the culture and the hot topics; which is fun and has kept me young and in step with these folks. But this year I've had a few moments of squirming. Because while my students remain the same, I have changed! UVU is the "Tuck," and I am the community that grows and changes.
I have done my best to not evolve, to remain forever 28, but since cancer I'm realizing I'm really significantly older than my students, even my older students; I have students now younger than my kids - weird. And while I have a few "hot chilies" in "Rate My Professor," those were years ago, and whereas that was a compliment years ago, I'm not the younger woman I was then. These "kids" are not my peers! And these folks are the ones I am the most comfortable around. I know how to talk with them; I'm not intimidated by them. I don't want to be one of them, I just want to be hip enough they will embrace me like I embrace them. And I haven't spent much time around people my own age.
What's a woman to do? So this past week I've set about beginning to be comfortable with my over-50'ness. This is hard. I've deleted "boutique stores" from my Instagram account and replaced them with higher-end stores; I've added some "mid-life" accounts to both IG and my reading loops. I'm trying to look hip without looking trendy. I'm walking straight by Forever 21 and H&M.
I'm over 50, I need to get used to this, embrace it instead of fight it, knowing I am the best I can be at this age, not at another age, and while I want to reincarnate as a 28 year-old, I'm who I am now for a reason, for a purpose, and my wisdom - that comes with age and experience, is valuable. And that saggy skin, extra weight, sleepy eyes, graying hair are part of who I am, and I really need to love this me. This is good for me, and my students.
"Grow old with me, the best is yet to be," will be an invitation to myself - to embrace my here and now and tomorrow, as I am, as I grow. The best has been coming for years; I have no doubt this will continue. Time to be comfortable with the process.