I am what you might call an eternal student. From the time I was very little, my mind was always on the lookout for some new idea or concept that I was sure, in my childish brain, would explain the world to me. My mother said she should have named me “Why?” because of how often I used that word day in and day out.
Learning is what keeps us growing and evolving. Learning not only sharpens our mind, our ability to reason, discern and discover, but it always leaves open the possibility that there is something that we don’t know that, the knowing of it, could change everything (I borrowed that idea from the brilliant Neale Donald Walsh, author of the wonderful Conversations With God series). Take for example what happened to me when I was in my 30’s.
I had always wanted to go to college after I from graduated high school back in the 60’s, but in those days the mindset was that girls only went to college to find a husband, or to take up a profession that would take care of them should anything happen to that husband, like death or divorce. The culturally approved professions at that time were teacher or nurse. Secretarial work was the holding ground where we worked to save for our weddings and fill our hope chests until we said “I Do.” My parents very much agreed with that train of thought so I was shipped off to Manhattan to find suitable work until I found a husband, but I never gave up hope of returning to school.
That dream came true at the age of 30 when, with the help of my church and some scholarships for women that had evolved thanks to the Women’s Movement, I was able to return to school, part-time at first, then full-time, juggling work, home, kids and school for the 6 years it took me to get my degree. In every class, even the required subjects we had to take like science and a language, I found something new and wonderful that I had never known, something that gave me a new perspective on the world. Imagine, then how much wider that world became for me when I started going deeply into my own course of study which was religion and philosophy. Where had all this information been hidden and why didn’t anyone tell me about this before? Because knowledge is power and women weren’t allowed to have that when I was younger. Praise Heaven that has all changed.
Now, every September, when the kids go back to school, I search for some new project that I can start as well, one that will teach me something I don’t know or understand, and offer me new perspectives on myself and the world I live in. Some years I have chosen something just for fun, other years I decided on things I needed to know (like computers which, sadly, is still an ongoing project for this non-technical person). In every case, I learned something that, the knowing of it, made a difference in my life.
We are never too old to learn. I have read of people in their 70’s, 80’s, and even 90’s who have taken courses, learned a new skill, even graduated from college. There is no expiration date on learning. At the tender “young” age of 69, I am contemplating which subject I will pick for this year – there’s a whole world of knowledge waiting out there for me. Who knows what I will discover next? How about you?
This week on the Home Page, our writing assignment will challenge us to take the plunge into the unknown to see what it has to teach us. As always, have fun with it and remember to always keep writing.
Peace and blessings.