I've always like school. Before I even stepped foot in Don Titus Elementary School for that first day of Grade 1, I'd already learned at my parent's laps to learn to read, to explore, to ask questions and find answers. And that hunger paid off pretty well in the formal education setting. I was someone for whom traditional learning worked. I played well with others. I responded to intermittent reinforcement. And so I continued on, with a brief child-bearing interlude, through to my Masters Degree.
I will say something here that I've never really acknowledged - it really took something for me to keep going that far. I left my marriage 3 months before my Masters Degree started, I had 2 young sons, my name was on the bills for the first time, and not a whole lot of people thought it was a good idea. It took something for me, but it also really took something for my sons, and for Glassboat, who came along just in time to make me dinner while I edited my thesis, and to mix me a cocktail and then disappear when I was prepping for my defense and not very fit for human companionship. It took something, and yet it was exactly where I wanted to be so I never questioned it. It took what it took to do something I knew I was pulled to do. I'm proud of having completed what I set out to then. I make jokes about my degree having no human practicality, but that's not true - it proved to me that I can do great things when I am clear & committed.
I love learning. And this morning I came across an article somewhere - down some interwebz rabbit hole I can no longer retrace - that suggests that love is a perfectly natural, and chemical, reaction. It turns out that when a human brain (and probably some other ones too) acquires new knowledge, a chemical reaction occurs that is similar to that experienced when someone takes narcotics. I found that pretty intriguing - not intriguing enough to bookmark mind you, but intriguing none-the-less. I truly do feel a rush when I figure something out for the first time, or read something new. And now I have a little better idea why.
All of that is just to say that I'm very excited to be embarking on a new learning adventure - starting next week I'm beginning work with an employment guru to 'learn' (uncover?) what way of generating an income will best fulfill & express me. I have some fairly set ideas, but what's been fun already in the process is being open to looking at things in a new way. We started with me looking at the questions James Lipton asks his guests on Inside the Actor's Studio:
- What is your favorite word?
- What is your least favorite word?
- What turns you on?
- What turns you off?
- What sound or noise do you love?
- What sound or noise do you hate?
- What is your favorite curse word?
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
- What profession would you not like to do?
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
And from there I found out that Lipton's questions are a variation of the confessions popularised by the French writer Marcel Proust, which lead me to this online Proustian questionairre at Vanity Fair. Check it out - sometimes learning about yourself can be the most intriguing learning of all (and the results tell you which celebrities gave similar responses, which is also fun - I'm 89% like Oscar de la Renta!).