Lifelong learning has always been a regular part of my vocabulary, but especially right now. I happen to work for Oasis, and one of our mantras is lifelong learning.
In reality, learning starts from the time we enter the world, evolving as we grow. From learning how to feed ourselves, to how to read, to how to drive … well, you get the picture.
Last summer, I learned more about health, specifically about what physical symptoms can mean as related to my health. We've all probably visited WebMD and scared the crap out of ourselves (I know I have) attempting to match up our symptoms with what might possibly be wrong or, gulp, some horrifying disease. The internet is great for finding medical info but no substitute for seeing a doctor!
Still, web research was great for understanding what I was diagnosed with after experiencing abdominal pain. The short story is that I had an ovarian cyst. Laparoscopic surgery took care of removing the cyst (which had ruptured) along with an ovary – or what’s called an oophorectomy.
From when this all started to surgery day, I spent a lot of time researching … what could happen (if cancer had been detected), recovery time and what that was like and for how long. By the time the day arrived, I wasn't nervous, afraid or apprehensive about it … because I was informed. Even if the cyst had been cancerous, I had a good idea of what to expect for treatment of that.
Learning is always a good idea. My parents were both educators and shared their love of learning throughout my life. My mom would say that learning never stops, and she's right about that.
My point? A few …
- Learning is easier than ever before … so why not learn? When I was a kid, if you wanted to learn about a Tyrannosaurus rex, or how milk is homogenized you went to the library and researched it … or if your family had them, used encyclopedias. When I’d ask my parents a question like "where exactly is Transylvania?" I'd get the same answer … go look it up. Today, getting an answer is easier … hop on the computer or your smartphone. Or for something more in-depth and even social, there are these fabulous things offered by organizations like Oasis, they're called classes
- Learning always contributes to success. Whether it's how to fix a bicycle or how to use social media … it's not always instantly but somewhere down the road, the time spent to learn more about or how to do something comes back to reward you in some way. At least this has always been true for me.
- You're never too old to learn. We say this a lot at Oasis, reminding our members — who are sometimes fearful of new things — that age is not a boundary when it comes to learning. So many of our Oasis members say how glad they are that they took a class or volunteered for a program, because it helped relieve a fear they had or helped enhance their life in ways they never thought about.
- Along with above, don't let fear stop you from learning. Sometimes change or something unpleasant will prevent us from getting informed about it. The unknown is scary … face the demon head on and gain knowledge about it. Poof! Scariness obliterated.
- Finally, take advantage and learn from those around you. I’m fortunate to work with some incredibly smart people. So when they talk, I listen carefully. I'm not already thinking ahead to what I'm going to say in response. That's a skill I had to learn, it's natural to want to immediately jump into conversation. My grandmother used to say, "we have two ears and one mouth, use them proportionately." Amen Grandma.
So … what will you learn today?