I love learning new things, and sometimes re-learning old ones. I’d like nothing better than to go back to school full time and take a bunch of math classes, and not let math kick me in the butt this time. I’d take more chemistry, and biochem, and organic chem, and extraterrestrial chem. And I’d take every art history and art appreciation course I could find; and anthropology and philosophy and physics. And languages. I’d get a PhD or three. Just for fun.
And I want to read almost every book that comes out, especially if it’s about science. I know I’ll never get through even half of them, but I want to give it a shot. I never want to stop putting new knowledge into my brain. And I never want to get complacent about what I already know. And so I’ll never turn into my dad.
I know a lot of people who think I’m nuts for wanting to go back to school — for even considering it. That doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t bother me that a lot of people don’t like to read — who think they had to do too much reading when they were in school and they’re done with that. That’s a completely legitimate reason not to do something. That’s how I feel about ironing — that I did enough ironing as a kid in school ironing my uniform blouses, and later in the Air Force ironing everything that wasn’t tied down. Unfortunately, I have to iron some of the shirts I wear to work now because I no longer have a job where I can wear jeans and tee-shirts, darn it. I am working on finding shirts that don’t require as much ironing as some that I have. I would gladly stop completely, so I can relate to anyone who doesn’t want to do something that they find unpleasant.
But I watched my dad slowly lose his mind, and I don’t want that to happen to me. He wanted to live to be 100, and he got pretty damn close. But he thought he could do it just sitting on the couch watching re-runs of “Walker, Texas Ranger,” and claiming he was “too old” for other activities or learning new things.
I will not will not will not let that happen to me. And so I’ve already started back to school — part-time — and I’ve already taken one math class. In summer school. One whole semester in five weeks. I made a “B” dammit! I’ve never made that high a grade in math in my life, and I’m pretty frakking proud of it. And last night at work when a student asked me for some help with one of her algebra problems, I was able to show her a function she could use on her graphing calculator that she didn’t know about. Two months ago I could use a graphing calculator to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, and waste everything else it is capable of. Now I know a few more of those uses. But there are a lot more I have yet to discover.
And I’m just like that calculator.