Never too late to learn

Brain

It’s the summer of 1966, a few days after school had closed for the summer. I sat outside by the back fence at a little makeshift table made from an upside-down cardboard box. I had my pencils lined up perfectly, a small ruler and some pieces of paper on my make-believe desk.

I was ready to imagine I was in school. Yes, only a few days after my summer holidays had started I found myself playing school. I loved school, I loved reading and I loved learning.

Throughout my career as a consultant, I took as many classes as the organization would allow. I always used up my learning budget, and often would ask for more. Sometimes it worked and I expanded my learning wish list, other times it didn’t. I, however, always asked.

When I first learned about distance learning I admit that I saw thousands of doors opening up for me. My work required that I continuously travel and this made it impossible for me to commit to an in-person learning program, but oh, when the location was no longer a challenge, I signed up.

Early versions of this now sophisticated mainstream way of learning offered a lot of opportunities for those who were passionate about learning because the challenges were plenty.

Over time distance ed, remote learning, distance learning, online, internet-based method of learning has evolved in leaps and bounds. To me, distance ed is a door opening to a vast paradise of knowledge!

I’ve enjoyed taking classes in anthropology, philosophy, business management, writing, and Italian. A few months ago, I took an introductory Program Management course, and within 4 weeks the bug bit me and bit me hard. I started dreaming about attending university with the Millenials and taking all sorts of courses.

Then, upon introspect and reviewing my wish list, it occurred to me that I need to walk the talk, in that I always am the first to tell people “Carpe Diem”, ‘Seize the Day!” or “this moment may never come again”. Time goes by so quickly, exponentially in fact. I’m about to turn 60 and I’m excited for the next decades ahead.

I have registered to complete an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) specializing in Big Data and Business Intelligence. My love of data has been reignited at my current assignment; during my days of working for a large consulting firm, I learned to truly appreciate what bits and pieces of information can reveal and how interesting the theories can be.

It’s an aggressive project, this MBA, given I have 18 months, with a possible extension of 6 months, during the time I will continue to work 4 days a week and will have close to us our future grandson! But I thrive on challenges. Let’s see if this first year of my 60s is as exciting as I imagine it will be!

“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.” — Eartha Kitt

My big Aha Moment

Holiday 2018 books

I’m officially on holiday, until January 3rd 2019! Whohoo! And I intend to do quite a few things, such as tidying my art studio, finishing a few art projects and reading. Oh how I love reading.

My books choices have changed recently, and as I was driving to work this morning, I noticed I had a smile on my face. I’m a relatively positive person and that’s not unusual but this time, I actually felt it on my face. I had one of the biggest AHA MOMENT at that exact second – I was truly happy going to my work and take part in the new project that started a few weeks ago.

“Aren’t you retired” many have asked me recently. “I thought you stopped working” or more often than not “Why are you working???” I 2011 I did retire from consulting and a 20-year career with Accenture. When I planned my goals when I was 23, one of my bucket list item was to retire by the time I reached 50. Well, turns out I was in my 50th year, as it was just before I turned 51. I was elated to be able to travel more often, write, do crafts etc. Early on after I retired, I was offered many job opportunities but turned them all down.

After three years of travels and leisure, I was offered a contract and I decided I would rebuild my travel savings and keep my feet in the business. Well, that is what I thought.

The project was interesting, but I realized I missed travelling, so I headed back to Spain and other travel trips. This past summer I returned to the Camino in Spain, to volunteering at the albergue. I also completed the Camino walk (I had 114 km left on the Camino I dedicated to my sister Denise who passed away in 2014. That last part of the Camino was by far the most emotional one so far. I believe it was a grieving Camino, not only for my sister but for everyone in my life who had passed. I cried often, I hurt, I felt grief constantly, but I understood it was a needed step in my ongoing personal growth. I also felt there was a need that was growing in me.

On my second of six days of walk, I started thinking that I might want to return to work. I have a strong belief in putting thoughts “out there” and let the universe do its thing. I’m sure many of you are rolling your eyes right now, and that’s great. We all need to believe our own philosophy, follow our instincts, and mine include a sense of faith in the universe. Some call this faith in God, in destiny, in Providence, or just hogwash.

The next day, I got two calls for two offers of contract work. I now find myself working at one contract 4 days a week. This contract is all about service centre, or call centre, and it’s a real challenge as there are many challenges but I realize I am in my element.

And yesterday, it hit me hard – I truly and honestly love this type of work. I realized my brain needs the stimulation that this type of work provides me. I realized I thrive on this type of challenge. I openly am stating that I am not ready to retire. I am ready to work on my terms, on projects I find interesting and challenging keeping my options open for additional travels between projects.

My hunger for new knowledge, my joy in helping out organizations, my ability to quickly adapt to demands of a project, my excitement in being part of a program of change, all these things point to the fact I still have lots to give.

Therefore, I realize that my definition of retiring is not the traditional one, but I am blessed to have the option of working or not, and of travelling or planning for future travels.

The year is almost over, and I look forward to starting 2019 doing what I really enjoy!

I hope you will begin 2019 doing what you really enjoy!

Happy holidays!