The Mobius Strip
What am I learning? What do I want to achieve? These questions were posed by Julia at What Will Julia Do Next in her excellent and reflective post Teacher as Learner. Julia kindly tagged me to write a response and I can’t remember a meme which elicited so much soul-searching.
What we learn defines what we are. We travel a path throughout our lives, gaining knowledge and experience and (hopefully) wisdom, but like a sandstone monument in the desert, shaped by the whipping wind, we too are shaped by the human elements we expose ourselves to.
What am I?
I am an employee. The way I conduct my work is changing, and I am currently learning new, cutting edge technology. It is challenging and frustrating. It is a point of pride for me to be the first to learn anything new. I like to be the guru, the power user. The other side of that is I don’t care to share. If I know more than you, that makes me…harder to dispense of. Therefore what I know I like to keep close hold.
I am a husband. You’d think there was nothing left to learn, but you’d be wrong. Nothing stays the same. There are constant changes in the dynamic, small and sometimes imperceptible, but there nonetheless. In recent times, I have been learning how to live with someone who suffers mild bouts of depression. I have had to learn how to react, how to keep things on track, how to retain a veneer of normality for the children.
I am a father. As I’ve noted before on The Blog Up North, this is a seemingly never-ending learning path, akin to trekking through uncharted rainforest. Most of the time it is hacking through thick, cloying vegetation intent on hampering me. Occasionally, but all too rarely, I discover a clearing into which the sunlight pours, illuminating the beauty of what I’m battling through. I can stand and admire. Catch my breath. Then it’s back into the dense foliage, trying not to trip, unable to see the wood for the trees. Having no paternal presence when I was young may be a factor. Or maybe I use that as an excuse for sometimes feeling lost.
These are the things I learn. These are the things that shape me. What do I want to achieve?
To be all of these things, but not let any one of them define me. I’m not JUST an employee. I’m not JUST a husband. I’m not JUST a father.
I’m a person.
Life is not a learning curve. It is a mobius strip. An infinite path. It never ends.