Over the past 14 months, I’ve been taking a 12-month course in aromatherapy. (If you’ve noticed that I haven’t been writing as much, it’s because I’m “studying”.) Let me tell you two things about going back to school as an old person.
1. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Every single morning, I write a to-do list for the day. It usually includes things like shower and breakfast. Not because I’ll forget to do those things, but just so I can visualize everything and plan my day around time-inflexible items and priorities. Study is also on my list. But you know what? There are five other people in this house and even though they are unreasonably demanding, I am nice. So once or twice a week, I prioritize going to the grocery store over studying so that they can have food. And every now and then I prioritize laundry over studying so they won’t be naked or stinky. And at least once a day, I have to prioritize driving over studying so they won’t have to sleep at school. I am nice. And they should at least rub my feet or brush my hair or something.
My point is this: by the end of the day, I have often crossed off a whole bunch of things except study from my list. And then I go to bed and the next morning I write study on my new list. This has been going on for fourteen months.
2. My brain is mush. Being old means remembering stuff is hard. Recalling simple things like people’s names and important dates is teetering on the periphery of my mental capabilities. Memorizing botanical names like Vetiveria zizanioides and anatomical terms like occipital mastoidal suture is an excessive load for this mushy, old brain to bear.
I will now regale you with an entertaining story that happened just this week. My husband and I won a cool prize in a draw. (It’s an elite icewinemaker’s dinner at a winery in Niagara-On-The-Lake. Very fancy-schmancy. We are sophisticated like that.) One of my children commented, “Wow! You’ve never won something before!” I told him that’s not true at all and proceeded to list a bunch of things I’ve won over the years: a TV, my high school letter jacket, Taylor Swift perfume, a walk-on role in Les Mis, and I even won a pair of round-trip tickets to anywhere in the world that Air Canada flies – which I never got to use.
They wanted to hear that story! I explained that I won the tickets when I was in high school, but they had to be used within a fairly short period of time. I had already just missed a bunch of school for a conference that I was at and couldn’t immediately take more time off to go flying away to some random destination. “What conference?” they wanted to know. It was a student-focused citizenship conference in Ottawa, and a bunch of schools across Canada were allowed to send one student to represent their city.
Here’s what my precious offspring asked: “Why’d they choose you?” (Sometimes their preciousness is underwhelming to me.)
I answered, “Because I used to be smart.” I might as well have fabricated a tale about my years as a Russian spy, for all the credibility they afforded me. This image before them now – the woman who CANNOT EVER remember to turn on the dishwasher before she goes to bed at night – does not jive with the image of someone who once had potential.
Why am I telling you all this? For two simple reasons. One: I enjoy giving you a laugh at my expense. Two: if you are a praying person, I am begging you – BEGGING YOU – to add me to your list for this month. My aromatherapy exam is on February 5 and my anatomy exam is on February 12. My mushy, old brain is desperately trying to memorize 12 (going on 15) months of intense information and I need supernatural help to do it.
I’ll leave you with this interesting little note. There is a specific essential oil that stimulates the brain in such a way that if you smell it while you’re studying and then smell it again at a later date, it increases your ability to recall what you studied. Thing is, I can’t remember which oil.