I said I wanted to be in school till I am 85. My friend asked me if I wanted to be in school or learn till I am 85.

Which was a very good question and made me realize that in fact the two were different. Why did I equate learning with school? And why did they have to go hand-in-hand? I could in fact, and was in fact, learning daily.

Then what made me miss academia? What were the pieces and parts of that experience that I longed for and made me dream of student debt?

It was the click, the “ah ha” moment everyone always talks about. I don’t think life hands you many revelatory bolts of understanding, but if you wade through an article or a puzzle or follow a professor’s path of questioning, it’s awfully close to that addictive feeling.

There is a fear in me, I know for certain, that I may lapse into a state of disinterest or apathy. One where I don’t want to know things, discover things, or feel that I am unable to. That when I’m older I am content in front of some show I hardly care about instead of a new book or David Lynch iteration. That I won’t find the hidden narratives or look for the messaging behind something like broadcast news or People magazine.

How do we prevent that? How do we maintain that academic sense? That constant curiosity? It must be an active exercise. A daily remembrance.

And yet part of me thinks I feel that I need others to know. That I feel as if no one will think me intelligent unless I have the papers to prove it and if I haven’t the papers, someone will snatch me up out of the land of smart people.

It’s silly, to be insecure about such things. I shouldn’t need the validation. Where does the need originate from? Was it the competitive schooling in high school, where all of my friends had such impressive grades that I felt as if I couldn’t possibly be intelligent? Was it college where I felt so inept socially that all I could cling to was my academics?

None of these are anything to cry about, in fact they’re the very environments that made me into the person that I am, the person that I like. They are privileged and lucky.

I am trying though. I am pushing when I can. Bookths is one such avenue of ensuring that I read. My podcast requires research ahead of recording. I pursue questions and ruminate on what I can.

Nothing feels quite as satisfactory or earned as a paper or a project. Or at least nothing does yet.

And yet maybe the key to that feeling is letting go of the validation and the feedback. Maybe the key is in the doing.

What do you do to keep your brain happy? How do you continue learning?




Questions? Comments? Miscellania?


  • Reply


    February 7, 2018

    Learning never ends whether your in a classroom or walking through life. I always have a desire to learn about the details of any subject, for my own satisfaction. Your love for learning in part comes from your parents instilling the importance of knowledge and also your own personal curiosity. Life is short, keep learning and experiencing new things.

  • Reply

    Martha Urban

    February 7, 2018

    First of all, age is just a number, be glad you have those numbers because you never know when they will end! BTW…you aren’t “old” until you hit the age of 90. Count your blessings more than 10 times daily. Be aware and be appreciative of the little things you have learned each and every day as you thank God for getting you through another day. Allow your mind and knowledge to EXPAND daily instead of becoming narrow minded with age. Find the path God has chosen just for YOU and follow it as you may drift left or right…THAT is the way to feel accomplishment and be happy❤️

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