There’s always more to discover
Last updated 12/15/2021 at Noon
One of my favorite philosophers, Winnie the Pooh, said it best: “There is always more to discover.” He may have been referring to the inside of the honey pot, but it also applies to life. I am never too old to learn something new. That is why I have enjoyed my gig as a freelance writer for The Nugget for the past nine years, with plans to continue for as long as I can.
I can’t just make up the information that goes into the articles I write. They require I do research, interview people, ask questions, and gather it all together into an article that will hopefully inform, educate, make readers think, and, if appropriate, do something.
The term lifelong learner certainly applies to me. After the requisite eight years of grade school and four years of high school, I earned a four-year degree at Oregon State University followed by a fifth year working on a master’s degree. Since then, I have received training and certifications in chemical dependency counseling and expressive arts therapy, as well as a two-year ATA degree in horticultural therapy. And finally, in my 50s, I received my master’s in applied behavioral science. All along the way, I have attended and/or facilitated all kinds of groups, trainings, and learning opportunities.
I have loved it all. School has always been one of my favorite places to be. I get energized and motivated by learning and trying new things. That’s why my resume looks like it belongs to three or four people instead of one. I laugh when someone asks me about my educational and work experience, replying, “Which decade are you referring to?”
Now, in my late 70s, when I might kick back and watch the world go by, I have one of my most rewarding opportunities to keep learning by being a freelance writer. That really hit me recently in a conversation with my editor, Jim Cornelius, about the research I am doing for an upcoming article in January about a current hot topic – Sisters Country’s water supply. Before I can even begin interviewing the experts, I am having to do a personal crash course in hydrology and geology, both complex subjects with their own vocabularies. Rather than dreading the task, I am intrigued by the subject matter and energized by the project.
My many writing assignments have provided multiple opportunities for me to learn all kinds of information new to me, and meet many interesting people whose stories I love to hear. By learning new material, I am keeping my brain engaged. New stories provide new focus and new knowledge. I know myself well enough to know, despite my occasional longing for an uncommitted schedule, I am happiest and healthiest when my mind is engaged in discovery and learning — expanding my world with each new tidbit of knowledge.
It’s not all just collecting facts. Rather, my ever-increasing storehouse of information and relationships allows me to serve as a conduit for both people and information. And, like Pooh, I continue to look deeper into the honey pot for another discovery.