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41 years old and I am officially a freshman in college.

Let’s get one thing straight, though. I am not going back to school.

Going back implies I am starting over, that there was a path I skipped over, or that I missed something and had to re-trace my steps.

I don’t go back, I go forward.

Continuing education after high school was not something we talked about, growing up. We had God, we had each other and if we were lucky – we had a decent paying job. What else could a poor, ragged sinner ask for? This was enough, and it was good.

And so I did what I learned how to do. I went to vocational college and learned a craft which led me along a wonderful career path. Specializing in a craft inspired me to keep growing, keep moving forward in it.

Then, sometimes you come to the end of a path and you have to decide if you are going to set up camp there or keep forging ahead. I decided, at 41, to keep forging ahead.

So,Β I am beginningΒ college for the first time, at precisely the right time, which happens to be now. And it is perfect.

Is it weird to be as old as some of these kids parents? Yes. Is it strange to wear a backpack? Absolutely. And do you stick out like a sore thumb amidst the hoodies, Victoria’s Secret Pink yoga pants and Uggs? You better believe it.

But have I ever felt so alive? No. Have I ever thrived in such a way? Nope. Does this interfere with children and family? Not a chance.

To be continually learning and growing, produces within us a thriving and liveliness, which is what creates a healthy, flourishing culture within the home. We have a blossoming ecosystem of newness, wonder and unearthed passions between us all. It is magnificent.

In Sociology I discovered how judgmental and narrow-minded I can be, and I’m learning how to value the cultures and beliefs of others.

In English I have found that arranging my thoughts and writing them out in a more intentional and concise way allows others to better understand the concepts and ideas I present.

In Economics, I am becoming more aware of how our economy works. It has inspired me to grasp the issues our government faces and informs me to help establish my own beliefs about them.

And in Communications, I found that many times what I say does not truly reflect the message I want to convey. I have learned how to organize the heart behind the message and choose words more carefully in order to bring about a greater sense of understanding for others.

I am mostly learning to care more – about this nation, about communicating more effectively, about loving and accepting people better, and about being a woman who brings leadership, unity and value into community.

What am I going to school for? For me. For them. For you. For us.

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