I have the somewhat ridiculous frustration that I don’t know enough.
Not about literature or history or art or music or marketing or productivity…the list goes on. I wish I could read every important book that’s ever been written. My mind demands knowledge as fuel. It’s a thirst for learning that can never be quenched. If I could re-do college, I would. A million times over.
I am still curious about the young person I was in college. How did I spend so much time and money earning a degree that I used for about 10 weeks? I know accounting was interesting to me at the time, like taking a gadget apart and examining its complexities before putting it back together. It was a challenge, and I guess I needed to prove something to myself. I could do it, and I could do it well.
There are exactly two kinds of people in college: those who should be there and those who shouldn’t.
Those who should be there are studying something they crave to know. They may have a plan to use their degree, or no plan at all. They may have an explanation behind their craving, or a beautiful and all-knowing silence. What matters is not the past nor the future, but a passionate present. They go to class and they sit as close to the professor as they can. Enraptured like a devoted lover. They’re not in the back row playing Sudoko puzzles. They’re not drinking or eating themselves silly. Filling, filling. They did not choose a major because they believe it will bring them wealth and security, like those who shouldn’t be there.
I fell into the latter category, going off to college at 18 with little awareness for what my true self wanted. After I graduated and worked a bit and realized the life I’d planned as a CPA wasn’t going to work out for me, I took the gap year in the form of a one-way ticket to the opposite side of the world. And it was that trip that inspired my first novel, which I never knew I could write until I did, even though I called the people I met while traveling “characters in my book,” detailing their quirks for my journal.
So maybe I did a few things backward, and maybe I missed the education I crave. But so far as I can tell, I found my way back to myself relatively early in adulthood, and for this, I am grateful. My degree from the Foster School of Business was not a waste of time; regret is the only waste of time. The past remains unchangeable, but we can change our interpretation of it. Though I’ve yet to understand the turns I’ve taken, I have faith. Life only makes sense backwards. It must be lived forwards.
Lucky for all of us, we have control over the present. It’s never too late. As for me, I’m determined to continue, and deepen, the self-study habit that’s taught me so much about health, herbal medicine, writing fiction and the divine power. I will read many books this year, and I’m going to share them with you on this blog. This weekend, I finished “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood, I read “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon, and I started “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. Posts coming soon.
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