I grew up in Charlotte, the second largest banking city after the Big Apple. The present was paramount. The future was too distant to imagine.
Whether I was in mommie mode or on a career path, I was occupied by the daily. Social Security was a million steps away. When I had a child, my mother told me life goes by in the blink of an eye. She was right.
The bottom of the hourglass fills quickly. Time is stealthy. It crept up on me when I wasn’t paying attention. One day a membership card from the American Association of Retired Persons appeared in my mailbox. The card was unsolicited. How dare AARP? I felt robbed. I figured I had a decade and a half until geezer-hood.
Three years ago my life entered a new phase. I moved to Carrollton to live with my son, daughter-in-law, and three adorable grandchildren. I bid adieu to the town where my family lived for four generations, and embraced life as a Georgia peach.
I welcomed retirement. In the recesses of my mind lurked hope that I could finally laze in a rocking chair. There was no such luck. But life in a small town suited me. Except for my favorite quaint nuisance – that damned Maple Street train.
I was ecstatic when I found out there was a university in my new hometown. I enrolled and dived into the boundless offerings that would expand my mind. Or at least keep my mind from shrinking. I approached college life with a joie de vivre.
I’m a UWG Wolf but not a typical student. I’m old enough to be your grandmother. You might have seen me around campus. Thank you for holding a door open. I’ll try not to run over your foot with my wheeled walker. But if I do, I’m sorry.
It’s a treat when a student stops me and starts a conversation. In return I ask for recommendations on what courses I might audit. My goal is to contribute enough in class to benefit the conversation, but not to upset class dynamics.
I cherish my relationship with the English department. They helped my life-long love affair with words to blossom, for three years my writing support group has sponsored a competition that awards monetary gifts to talented writing students at UWG. In a mutually beneficial partnership, the Carrollton Creative Writers Club is pleased to diminish the gap between town and gown.
Your writing students are brimming with envious talent. I’ve boasted about their award-winning Eclectic magazine and heralded it as a model for literary journals.
Students in my classes from Philosophy to Social Change in the Middle East are inquisitive and engaged. I’m fortunate to be here, and to be here now.
As an elder member of the Wolf clan, please allow me to offer a dime’s worth of advice: Set your sights on a desired future. Take wise steps to get there. Anticipate that distant moment when AARP will contact you. Use your time wisely. Life zips by in the blink of an eye.
Remember the advice of a stranger.
Dee Dee Murphy is a member of the Carrollton Creative Writers Club and the Carrollton Civic Woman’s Club. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.