How to start new things: 1. Know where all the restrooms are located and, 2. Bring snacks

This is what I know for sure: my brain doesn't need to sit at home thinking about all my problems. My brain needs to be learning new things, having new experiences and getting OUT THE HOUSE. Let me just put it this way: being alone is NOT GOOD for ENFPs. Weird things happen to us. Our brains go wonka-tonk. Our problems seem like 8 million times bigger than they actually are. We start talking to ourselves. We watch too much TV. We start obsessing about that one random person who unfriended us on Facebook even though they weren't really our friend to begin with but somehow we MUST KNOW WHY and somehow it really MATTERS.

All this to say: I signed up for college. Because my brain is a smart brain and it needs new thoughts. One class. Introduction to Psychology. I figured I'd ease my way back into the academic environment, see what happens, maybe think about grad school.

I've been to two classes so far and OH MY WORD YOU GUYS. The happiness. I woke up this morning and my first thought was: YAY. I get to do homework today!

My kids think I am nuts. Like: what kind of crazy person gets excited about homework? What kind of whack-a-loon thinks studying in the library is FUN?!

I was dancing around the kitchen making up songs about Freud and JESH-STALT and they were looking at me over their toast like WHO IS THIS ALIEN WOMAN AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH OUR MOTHER?

"Why are you going to school?" they want to know.

"I don't know," I say.

"But why can't you just stay at home and keep sewing stuff?" they ask.

"Because Mama has a brain and Mama's brain has been feeling all desperate and sad and did you know that Mama has a smart brain? Mama needs to utilize the smartness. It would be a shame to let that smartness go to waste."

They still think I'm a whack-a-loon. But that's ok. I'm a happy whack-a-loon.

College, man. It's different nowadays. Here's what I've discovered so far:

#1: Everything is online. Which is awesome and also annoying. I don't LIKE reading my textbook online. I want the REAL THING in my hot little hands so I can highlight and make marginalia. But I had to buy the online version. So, I did. But then I rented a hard-copy too because I am AN OLD LADY WHO STILL NEEDS TO TURN PAGES. Win-win.

#2: I am the oldest person in the class. By at least 20 years. This is strange and disconcerting and oddly intimidating. I forgot how amazing it was to be 18 years old with no wrinkles and a brain that ABSORBS information super easily and REMEMBERS stuff. And I also forgot how 18 year olds have All The Idealism. They are so sincere, eager, awkward, alive. I can't be sure, but they don't seem to mind that an old lady has infiltrated their ranks. They are very nice about pointing me to the bathrooms and the coffee shop and here, this is how you log-on to the powerpoint presentation online. I like being an old lady at college.

#3. I cannot sit for as long as I used to be able to sit. My class is three hours long. I CANNOT SIT THAT LONG. I cannot hold my bladder that long. I cannot REMAIN FOCUSED that long. So, here's what I've learned: know where all the bathrooms are located. Also, bring snacks.

#4. Professors are rad and they just let you walk out whenever you need to walk out. And they give you breaks. And sometimes they end class early because even THEY can't lecture for three hours straight.

#5. I stink at quizzes. I forgot how hard multiple-choice stuff. I look at all the choices and I'm like: ALL OF THESE CHOICES ARE SO MANY CHOICES THAT LOOK LIKE GOOD CHOICES. I guess that's the good thing about taking quizzes online. We can take them as many times as we want until we get 100%—which is exactly what I did. The first two times I failed. But the third time my brain was finally awake and I nailed it.

#6. It's good for my ego. Which is to say, it's humbling. My ego has been far too wrapped up in Book Writing World. I'm far too concerned with Being A Good Writer. I've attached far too much of my self-worth to how well my books sell. I care too much about what people say about what I write. It's really, REALLY healthy for me to be focusing on learning new things, on education, on making new discoveries, on broadening my horizons. I feel like I am coming alive again.

#7. My book releases tomorrow and you know what? I'm all chill about it. Sure, I'm excited about it—kind of. But I'm not super ATTACHED to the outcome of this book. I did the best I could and now I release it into the world and let it do its thing while I learn about double-blind studies and ethics in research methods. p.s. Freud was whack, yo.

Hey, wanna do some Psych homework with me? My professor asked us to write what we did during the first two minutes after waking up in the morning. This is what I wrote: Dog woke me up by tapping my face with his paw. Checked my phone.

HUH. That is not my IDEAL. I wish I wrote something like: Upon opening my eyes, I smiled and said a prayer of gratitude. I listened to the birds singing outside. I didn't check my phone until much, much later.

OK, so I'm curious: what did YOUR first two minutes look like? Feel free to answer anonymously. I won't judge. Also, what happens in my comment box stays in my comment box. :) I just think this whole psychology thing is super interesting!

Elizabeth EstherComment