Key Takeaways:

“I used to apologize for being a lifelong learner, being knowledgeable, and asking a lot of questions, however — who cares now! This became an opportunity to spread my wings because I’m going toward a senior citizen but I’m not there.”

The youngest daughter in a family of 7 with just one boy, Audrey Jones is used to being active. That’s no surprise since she retired in 2018 from over 30 years of teaching Pre-K through 6th grade. She has a Masters in Educational Administration and is a proud Houstonian. This Texan native hasn’t stopped being active in retirement, instead, she’s just refocused her priorities. She continues to be active in her church in spite of not being there physically, especially with the Prayer Conferences. She was working out with a YMCA personal trainer prior to the pandemic and is constantly pursuing new knowledge.

The pandemic as a blessing

“Even though we are going through the pandemic it has turned out to be a blessing for me. Not that I am not considerate of those struggling, but this time alone has given me time to evaluate what’s most important to me.”

Audrey has always been a giver. Working in a career focused on giving back to others as a teacher, it is no surprise that in the past 30+ years she hasn’t had a lot of time alone. In addition to her work as a teacher, she was a caregiver for many years to her husband, a US military veteran, stroke victim, and amputee, until his passing 3 years ago. She creatively strived to bring the outside into their home for years so he never felt like he was lacking with the help of her son, Elbert Jr. Making family indoor basketball or indoor theater performances for their family and friends as a whole. Due to his illnesses, his passing wasn’t as much a shock for Audrey as when her mother unexpectedly passed the same year she retired. She had planned to take her mother traveling as a thank you for all the hard work her mother had done to care for her and her siblings. She hadn’t considered not getting that opportunity, and that was a huge wake-up call to her to focus on accomplishing her goals now.

“These classes have been so beneficial. Now I’m taking the time to evaluate what is most important. It’s time to put Audrey first because if I don’t take care of Audrey I can’t take care of others around me. These classes have allowed me to expand and grow by managing my time wisely.”

Considering all her past teaching experience, Wade, her first Guide, mentioned the Guide positions available at GetSetUp in case she might be interested in becoming a Guide herself. However, understandably so, Audrey is ready to take some much deserved time to receive herself after having given so much to others already.

“With this pandemic, we are pretty much all on the same level and there shouldn’t be a ‘big I’ or ‘little you.’ Before this pandemic, I felt I had to be mindful of other people’s presence and my life was like on a backburner. However, when you are by yourself you have a chance to reflect. This time is giving me a chance to exhale and gravitate to what it takes for me to breathe. Now I can breathe more!”

Audrey is taking this time during the pandemic to explore learning and pursue self-care. From her regular morning devotion and exercise routine to her personal learning and development with classes like those, she takes at GetSetUp.

“I used to apologize for being a lifelong learner, being knowledgeable, and asking a lot of questions, however — who cares now! This became an opportunity to spread my wings because I’m going toward a senior citizen but I’m not there.”

Aging doesn’t have to mean stopping, or limiting experiences. As Audrey is learning, finally with retirement she has had time to explore her true interests and pursue her passions!

Logging into GetSetUp for the first time

When Audrey initially entered the GetSetUp site she thought it was a bit intimidating since she wasn’t a Zoom expert so she felt she didn’t have full control.

“I didn’t know what I was walking into.”

However, she soon learned that the other participants were coming to the same table with different backgrounds and levels of knowledge. Each person respecting what the other was bringing to the class. As a naturally lively person sometimes being with classmates who weren’t as lively or used to being online was intimidating. However, as soon as everyone got used to it — she realized that everyone had time to ask their questions, and the teacher was truly willing to hear their side, and the group came together like a big salad bowl according to Audrey.

Considering all of Audrey’s teaching experience she’s not an easy learner to please.

“When people would come to my classroom they knew that I was going to layout the “whole enchilada.” So when I get into other people’s classrooms that’s what I expect. And so far the GetSetUp classes haven’t disappointed. They are great at getting us engaged to use what we have. You can’t go to a university and get what GetSetUp is giving now. Many classes are free and GetSetUp is giving me the knowledge and I can pass on the knowledge. That way we can all stay at the same level and even expand.”

The nice thing that she likes about classes is that once classes are over they are over. There is no added expectation that is not set by her personally.

“This is my retirement and I don’t want to be on anyone else’s schedule.”

Staying active, engaged, and your through classes

Audrey truly likes exploring the topics and opening her mind to different ideas. She has taken 9 of our classes and plans to come back for more — from how to use google tools to organize her time to how to record and post videos to surprise and impress her niece — who knows a lot about technology. She’s also taking the build your own website to learn a bit more about how to do that since she has considered in the future creating her own non-profit to encourage widows with words of encouragement.

Audrey’s participation in the GetSetUp community doesn’t stop there. She has also participated in GetSetUp’s Social Hours, which are more discussion-based sessions where all participants share ideas around a topic of shared interests.

“I love them. They give people a chance to expand and we learn from each other. This allows us to see many ways to get to the same destination.”

GetSetUp is the community for passionate lifelong learners who come to share their knowledge, add to it, and learn from others. Audrey is just one of our many amazing adult learners with great insights to share.

“Everyone has a story and you don’t know what created that wrinkle or pimple on their face. I had always felt like I didn’t fit in because I loved learning, but it is because of amazing grace and the goodness of learning that I’m still the young girl at 57 that I am!”

Join in a discussion-based group or take a class to celebrate your love of knowledge and learn from others!

May 17, 2022
Community Stories

Classes by:

Liz Miller

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