Even before I was aware of the term life long learner, I embraced it. I was the little girl who always wanted to “play school”, read National Geographic magazines for hours, explore every inch of the tree in my backyard, and organize others to conquer something. As I grew older, I tried desperately to ignore my fascination with the teaching and learning process and the fact that I came from a long line of female educators. (My Nana’s legacy to me was her value of education. She was the quintessential teacher. I will always love her for that.) I didn’t want to be a teacher so I decided to major in Communications and minor in Education. My goal was to become a children’s television producer and work for Sesame Street.
That, of course, did not happen. I ended up in the field of early childhood education, then mysteriously was led to the field of adult learning and development. I realize now that I was destined to be who I am – a life long learner (and a teacher). I enjoy learning through books, and now the Internet. Learning this way comes easy to me.
Learning through life experiences is a different story. It’s not easy, and I don’t like it, but I’ve come to appreciate it because I’ve learned from my errors, bad choices, goofy decisions, and other experiences that life has offered me. And I am cool with my life experiences because without them, I would just be a learned fool.
As I claim my inner nerd, I also claim my relationship to the school of hard knocks and the lessons it has taught me since pushing forward this movement:
- NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER. I’ve met lots of interesting, motivating, creative, and determined individuals since beginning this movement. Not that I haven’t met these These folks before, but I’m able to connect more authentically with them. I try hard not to judge them at face value and allow my filters (the way I see the world based on my experiences, assumptions, and expectations) get in the way of making authentic connections with others because those filters can hinder both relationship and community building.
- HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS AND SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITIES ARE ESSENTIAL. How can I push forward and go when I am in an unhealthy relationship or belong to an unsupportive community? I need healthy relationships and supportive communities because they both help me push forward. Relationship and community building are risky, hard, and unnerving processes, but at the same time essential. I am learning that we thrive when we encourage, motivate, and inspire each other.
- LIFE WON’T STOP HAPPENING. Sometimes life makes it challenging for me to push forward my ideas and go. I’m learning how to deal with the hard and regular aspects of my life a little better. I wish that some hard and regular aspects of my life would instantly disappear, but that’s not being realistic. So I just have to buckle down, be clear about what I want to accomplish, get organized, and delegate.
- JUGGLE LESS. It’s not like I can just put all other balls aside and concentrate solely on juggling GoneGirlGo.My life has become an intense juggling act that has unfortunately resulted in in some balls falling on the floor. I only have two hands. And there are only a certain number of hours in the day that I can juggle. I try not to feel guilty about dropping them as I scoop them up and continue the juggling act. But some of these balls have to go. The hard part is deciding which ones.
I have been thinking about my Nana a lot lately. She was a phenomenal woman.
- She juggled lots of balls
- She didn’t jump off the world when it started spinning too fast
- She tried to maintain both healthy relationships and supportive communities
- She accepted people for who they were
- And most importantly, she was a life long learner (and teacher)
Thank you Nana for leaving that legacy with me. I’m grateful that I have you to remember as I push forward and go.