You don’t ever have to stop learning. I firmly believe that. You don’t need a diploma or a degree to keep learning. You can seriously learn just for the pure enjoyment of it. Knowledge is power!
A few weeks ago I started taking a Hebrew class at my local Chabad. It is an eight week, adult crash course in learning Hebrew. I always thought it would be interesting to learn, and I’m already five weeks in and absolutely love it! The amount that I have learned is astonishing. By taking this class though, it’s not only helped me to learn Hebrew but also helped me to tap back into the enjoyment that I get from learning. I honestly get a rush from it. I’m like a sponge. Teach me what you can and I will run with it.
The other day I was talking to my aunt and telling her how much fun I am having in my Hebrew classes. During our conversation she pointed out something to me, that I am a lifelong learner and I should never stop learning. I’ve always known that I enjoy learning new things, but I forgot how much passion I have for knowledge and expanding my skills.
It’s kind of funny because back when I was a kid, I was definitely not a great student. It wasn’t until 10th grade that my mother and I finally figured out what worked for me, smaller classes and more individualized attention. I went from being a straight D/F student to straight A’s from 10th-12th grade! It completely turned around school for me. When I decided to go to college, again I excelled. I took classes I was passionate about and worked hard. After three years of college I bordered on a 3.9 GPA!
One of my biggest regrets though was dropping out of college. I went for three years, but I never really had any guidance. I took classes I was passionate about, but nothing that would lead to a degree. After 3 years I was no closer to graduating than when I started. College was expensive, and although I would have liked to keep going, I realized that I need to use my money for other things. So, I dropped out of college, but always left the door open that I might return one day.
I actually looked into going back to college three years ago. The college I was attending now offered an adult completion program that was accelerated. I found out that through this program I could graduate in two years, but again it was the money situation and the fact that I need to work which held me back. I applied and got in, but at that point and time I realized it just wasn’t feasible.
My husband and I live debt free. And honestly, it’s a blessing and a struggle. I will talk more about this in-depth in a future post. But, not having credit cards or outrageous amounts of debt hanging over your head is so freeing. But it’s a struggle because you are forced to live within your means and prioritize what is important. And unfortunately, school for me had to take the back burner.
But, after my conversation with my aunt and what she said, it gave me a brainstorm. There is no reason why I have to stop learning. I am the only one holding myself back. I can teach myself anything that I want to know. It might be harder, but I can do it. And with that mindset, I had a brainstorm.
Three years ago when I got help for my eating disorder and started working with my health coach, learning about nutrition literally became a passion of mine. Ever since I have tried to absorb and learn as much as I could about nutrition, but still my knowledge is lacking. But, what was stopping me from buying a college-level nutrition textbook? What was stopping me from teaching myself?
My husband and I are big believers that we can teach ourselves anything. Our entire life is built around that. If we want to know something, we will learn it. When we started making soap, we knew nothing about it, so I started reading books, and we started gaining knowledge and before you knew it we were making soap. We didn’t know anything about yogurt making, but we taught ourselves that. We are always expanding skills that help us lead the kind of life we want to lead, which is our M.U.D. Life. So, why can’t the same principle apply to book knowledge? Why couldn’t I create my own nutrition class?
I told my husband all about my brainstorm. He thought it was a great idea, but was also worried because a college-level nutrition book that is not holistically based will go completely against a lot of the nutrition facts we believe in. For example, the FDA will never tell you to drink raw milk, but after all the research we have done, for us we know it’s the best option. So, my husband and I talked about my brainstorm and I told him that I would go into it knowing that I might not agree with everything, but that by teaching myself nutrition through a textbook I can get a solid foundation and understanding of nutrition in general. He said that sounded good, so I went under textbooks.com and got myself a used 2013 textbook on nutrition for $7.00 called Discovering Nutrition.
I decided that after I finished reading the Discovering Nutrition textbook, which I think will take me about 6 months to complete, that I will then continue my learning by reading other holistic nutrition and integrative nutrition books to round out my education. My textbook came the other day and I was so excited to start.
And then today I reached my first bump in the road. As I started reading, I started questioning “Can I do this? Can I teach myself this? This is crazy!” and I started getting frustrated… and I was only on chapter 1, only six pages in! I called my husband at work and told him how I was feeling. He helped me to refocus and said, “What about if you read a chapter and then I read the same chapter and then we discuss it together?” I thought that sounded like an amazing idea! Then we can both study together and discuss what we are learning and if there are any concepts that I am struggling with, I’d have someone else to discuss it with. He also said even if I only understand 25% of the book that still something. So taking his words to heart, I decided to dive back in.
I took a step back, took a deep breath, grabbed a notebook and pen, and decided to treat the textbook like I would if I were actually taking an accredited class through a college. I was going to take notes, I was going to outline important key facts, I was going to learn! And refocusing totally helped me because it helped to drive those doubting thoughts out of my head, and guess what! I started to understand what I was reading.
Part of my M.U.D. life is all about learning. It’s to never stop learning. If you set your mind to something, you can do it. And even if the going is tough, don’t give up because knowledge is power!