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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why do we keep learning?

Sometimes I think "What good is going to do me to keep studying and learning the way I do?"

I am always studying respiratory stuff, for example, and it's not likely I will ever be more as an RT than I am right now. The chance of moving up the ladder are slim to none, especially considering the boss where I work is the same age as me, and he's doing a good job.

I'm certainly not going to move to another town, and RT head jobs are rare anyway.

So, my question is, why do I keep myself so informed, especially when the doctors here at Shoreline want me to be no more than a button pusher. They have made it clear they don't want to utilize my "untapped" potential.

Why do I read history? Why do I read up on politics? I mean, it's not like I have more than one vote, and that I'm going to make a stand against some issue. And my knowledge and opinion of these things has made no difference in the amount of money I make.

No matter what I do, where I am in life, I have always enjoyed learning. Yes, I have made some bad decisions, but obtaining a bachelor's degree in business that I do not use, or an associates in journalism that I do not use, is NOT one of my mistakes.

My mistake was that I obtained my degrees in the wrong order. By the time I got my RT degree I had no energy left to do more. And then the family came.

The knowledge I've obtained is always good, as I can always use it one way or another. For example, my journalism gave me the ability to write, and my advertising degree taught me to keep things pithy.

But, this takes me back to: "So, why do I study?"

I've come up with 4 reasons:

  1. Learning itself is fun and entertaining
  2. It's fun when people ask me questions about things because they know I keep up.
  3. If the opportunity comes up, I'll be ready. Who knows what awaits me in my future.
  4. My son emulates me, and when I see him reading, when he asks me question to stump me, I feel joy in knowing I'm having a positive influence on him
  5. Perhaps I can use this knowledge in the next life.
I think it was Socrates who believed it was important to continue learning all the way to the end, because he believed he would use the knowledge in the next life. I believe this is also stated in the bible, although I'd have to do some research to find it.

As an RT I see people reading when I know very well they know they are going to die soon. Sometimes I ask myself, "Why is this person reading? What good is it going to do them?"

Now I know. It's the same reason why my parents and grandparents never stopped being a good example even after their kids had grown.

I suppose you could ask, "Why do I blog when so few read what I write?" As I think of that I come to the same conclusion as above.

My grandpa was diagnosed with cancer. He was in pain months before he died. However, when he died he was making a list of things to do.

My grandma had MSA and her body slowly weakened, but even after she was almost limp in a wheelchair she verbalized poems for my aunt to write down. She lived to the end.

I see this all this all the time with my patients. I respect that.

The bottom line, though, is reading is fun, and learning is fun, blogging is fun, and, more than likely, I'll continue to do it until the day before I die. Think about it.

3 comments:

mielikki said...

learning keeps our brains, young, I think. Plus, I like to convince a few of the patients I know what I am talking about!

Julia said...

Very potent post, Rick.

" 1. Learning itself is fun and entertaining"

This seems to intimidate some people who don't find learning entertaining. But I'm the same way--I would so much rather watch the history channel that --aw hell, I don't even know the names of the celebrity gossip shows.

" 2. It's fun when people ask me questions about things because they know I keep up."

You know, it IS a legitimate service to your coworkers. The nurses I work with truly appreciate having me as a resource. So do my patients.

"3. If the opportunity comes up, I'll be ready. Who knows what awaits me in my future."

EXACTLY! The kids are smaller now, one day they won't be. I don't know about you, but I've been watching my 80 year old dad, who retired at 55, but has always continued to have some sort of part-time job or two. He doesn't need the money (GM retiree), but it keeps him from getting bored, and I think it keeps him healthy. And a major contributor to his age.

Plus, at the rate I'm going financially, I'm not retiring even at 65.

"4. My son emulates me, and when I see him reading, when he asks me question to stump me, I feel joy in knowing I'm having a positive influence on him"

:D
" 5. Perhaps I can use this knowledge in the next life."

Let me know how that turns out, he he.

I think you also set an example of a person who decides to be happy. I think I know too many people who think happiness is about having the "perfect" life--the best possible job, or whatever. So they find that respiratory care has (a lot) of imperfections, (I think lack of a career development potential is a SERIOUS flaw) but they simply get bitter about it. You've taken an account of where you are at, what you want and need for now, and decided to meet your needs in other ways. KUDOS!

Not many people read our blogs, mostly because we are all busy people. Thanks for writing stuff worth reading.

Djanvk said...

Great Post. My wife teases me about how I look into new things we get and read to learn about them. Like the new TV we just got for Xmas, Plasma and HDTV, I had to go and read about how it works. I like knowing things.