Day 23,727: Back to Hitting the Books.

 They say youth is wasted on the young. Not really true.  What’s wasted on the young is school.  At young ages, it feels like an obligation, boring, not relevant.  Then, as a older person what wouldn’t we give for the luxury of studying something – especially one thing for an entire couple of months!  I’m lucky if I get one hour to delve into something.

Lately, I’ve been reconnecting with the local library where I work. It can be a great lunch outing to drop off some books and pick up new ones. However, in only one visit, due to “pent up demand” I stocked up with way more than I could possibly consume. And, each book was on an entirely different topic, so I’m still dabbling.

Through the miracle of modern technology I now have two apps on my phone – Hoopla and Libby – that allow me to download audio books to listen to while in the car.  It’s a great idea, but similar to my physical book expedition, I immediately downloaded four books instead of one. Unlike podcast streaming, they are stored on my phone, so now I’m also dealing with a battery that wants to heat up and run out of gas much sooner than it should.

The audiobooks should be a great idea since I have a long commute, but now I’m also behind on my podcasts.  I started listening to some of the gentler podcasts before going to bed, but fell asleep on them, so they are not really listened or absorbed after all.

It’s shocking to me that I – a person with a decent education and someone who keeps up with much – am lacking with so much foundational knowledge.  I am sure rather than having forgotten much, the truth is I never learned so much in the first place.  Why was my education so lacking?

I think in my case, it’s because I was a liberal arts American Studies student for so long. That means I dabbled in American literature, American history, journalism (when I dropped the major) to go abroad for a year, social work (because that’s what they taught abroad that year), and just enough economics and Con Law to be dangerous.  I sometimes envy specialists in any field from Social Justice and Constitutional Lawyers to Thoracic Surgeons and Google Analytics Specialists who have put in the hours to become an expert in at least one thing.

Generally speaking, there are advantages to being a generalist.   You get to dabble in many things. There used to be a certain panache to being a Renaissance person. Even the word “generalist” sounds bland rather than interesting.

On that note, I’m going to lick my wounds tonight and hop into bed to crack open one of the now too many books by my bedside. I’ve already returned at least two of the digital books without touching them because they will be easy to re-borrow after I’ve finished at least one of the others I’ve kept on my phone. The deadlines loom for the return dates on the borrowed books so I need to turn some attention to them first.

AHA. Now I remember why school was a burden – it was the need to complete coursework by a set time instead of leisurely lingering on a text for as long as one might desire.  Maybe I don’t want to go back to school after all.


Daily Focus on Gun Sanity: Mass shootings know no boundaries occurring everywhere from country music concerts, in churches, at movie theatres, and in nightclubs. Yet, the names that stick in our memory are schools — University of Texas, Virginia Tech, Columbine , Sandy Hook, and now Marjorie Stoneman Douglas. No level of education has gone untouched including Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Parkland is focusing much of our attention these days, but behind the scenes, the Sandy Hook parents are continuing their crusade for sanity with Sandy Hook Promise. Check out their web site or Facebook page to help support their ongoing efforts.