I say, "The day you stop learning is the day you start dying." I have been and plan to be a "life-long learner" in popular phrase. I can't help it. I'm interested in too much stuff and I can never know enough.
Now, as I've gotten older I have slowed down some. I don't seek out and devour articles in Scientific American about cosmology, anymore. I don't try to figure out every nuance of my computer's OS anymore. At one point I blamed this on my day job and not having the time nor energy to pursue such things because of it. But now that I'm working as a writer, I have both the time and energy but I still don't do it. My brain isn't as plastic as it used to be and learning isn't as easy as it use to be, so I have winnowed down what I'm willing to expend energy learning. Plus, I used to be able to read something once and retain most of it for nearly forever. Now I actually have to study something to learn it well. This annoys me and slows down how much I can learn.
But I do (and did) have eclectic tastes in what I want to learn about. Here's a partial list off the top of my head of things I do or have studied either informally or in an educational institute:
- "Hard" sciences (physics, chemistry, astronomy, cosmology).
- Economics (although the esoterica of microeconomics bores me).
- Words, their proper usage and precise meanings.
- Cars. Not to fix or repair or modify them, but to drive them. To facilitate this I subscribe to Car and Driver and read it cover-to-cover.
- Politics/government (no comment).
When I was younger I read the encyclopedia. When the internet came out, it was like an amazing thing. I would spend hours simply exploring, reading, learning.
My current profession is ideal for a life-long learner: freelance writer and author. I get to learn about things (which I love) and then write about them (which I love). Now I don't always get to learn about things I'm interested in (the plight of potato farmers is getting old) but that's okay. In my books I tend to write about things I am interested in but am sometimes forced to learn about things that don't interest me much because of how the plot goes. Who knew when I was writing Gods of Strife I'd have to research if Tehran, Iran has moles or groundhogs or other underground pests (apparently it doesn't).
I plan to keep learning and I plan to keep writing. Yes, some things I learn are only good for answering questions on Jeopardy, but still, you've learned them.
I just wish my brain worked like it did when I was 20.
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