Sunday, December 9, 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.

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