I always find it odd that as a culture, we tend to think of learning as a childhood pastime. I know, there are many of us who take classes, endeavour to learn the features of a new phone, maybe even try out a new route to work if we’re feeling extra brave. But how many of us consider learning to be a constant challenge throughout our lives?
I’m just wondering, because I have recently decided to go back to school, and was surprised to realise that I’m actually kind of terrified! Excited, yes…but scared too! The thought of being surrounded by 19 year olds talking about drinking binges does nothing for me. The thought of wandering down unfamiliar halls once again, having a student ID with a bad picture of myself, and having due dates for papers…does nothing for me. What does turn my crank is the promise of a challenge. I’m very excited to sit in a classroom and hear about places and things I’ve never heard of before, to be challenged by tests and papers to remember them and regurgitate on demand, to expand my brain power and surprise myself with what I’m capable of.
I didn’t used to be excited to learn. The scared part of me used to win out every time, and I wouldn’t end up doing what I’d originally wanted to know out of fear. But then one day, I started my own business. I never would have started it on my own, I have my ex-husband to thank for pushing me to do what he knew I could do. So I started it, with him, and we had some great successes. More importantly though, we had some catastrophic failures. Like, we lost thousands and thousands of dollars, lost face in a few situations, and had lots of people we new know about all of it. Our partner left us. We also seperated, which was incredibly painful and even more tough because we’d just started a business with a lot of joint loans involved. So really, I experienced the kind of failure I’d always been scared of. I walked through it very slowly, experienced every pain, asked for advice from wise people; sometimes I took it and sometimes I didn’t and screwed up again. And after a couple of years of this, I realized something: the worst had happened. I didn’t need to be afraid anymore.
And so I’m off to school, because I want to learn. I’m a completely different person than I was before my brother died, before I started my first buisness, before my divorce. The worst has happened and I’m still here. So what’s to be afraid of?