119. Continuing Education

A friend of mine, who does workshops for teachers and other human services workers around this country, likes to tell about a woman who decided to see a career counselor. As the two were discussing her various career options, she told the counselor, “What I really want to do is be a veterinarian, but that would take another six years. Six years from now, I’ll be fifty years old!”
The career counselor replied, “Well, six years from now, you’ll be fifty years old anyway. You might as well be a veterinarian.”
I like that story. As long as we’re alive, there isn’t a point at which we are saturated with knowledge, skill, and wisdom, and no more will fit in. We admire Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Jefferson, and others who seemed to keep coming up with new areas of expertise. But really, they are not so far removed from what we are. There isn’t a final career or specialization for which we are destined; our lives keep presenting challenges, and we keep finding ways to respond to them.
And so we continue our education. We get interested in something, and try it, or read a book about it. Maybe we take a course about it. Maybe we teach a course about it, because we’ve discovered expertise we didn’t know we had. As most people know, teaching is learning. And even if we don’t go to an institution of learning and/or take or teach a course – even if we don’t read a book – we keep learning. There’s no way to stop it.
Three years ago, I thought I had taken my last course . I was trying to earn sixty credits beyond my master’s degree, in order to increase my salary, and it was taking more energy than I had. I had enjoyed most of the twenty-five graduate courses I’d taken (even if I may not have enjoyed all of the commuting, tuition bills, and deadlines), but it seemed as if I had to say good-bye to my education. Yet last month, I took a course in the Feldenkrais philosophy of movement. You never know.

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