A few weeks ago at a party I had an embarrassing slip of the tongue. Getting to know a few new people out on the deck and I meant to say “I am relatively intelligent.” Instead I blurted out, “I am insanely intelligent.” Which of course is true, but I usually let people figure that out for themselves. We all had a good laugh and they forgave my immodesty. If there one thing you need to know about me, it is that I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Not only do I actively search out new things to learn, I soak in what I see and hear like a sponge.
My grandmother would tell you that I am not using my brain to its fullest potential. She has never entirely gotten over my decision to leave school and go traveling. I didn’t leave school because I was failing, or I disliked the work. Throughout my time at college I worked almost full-time to pay tuition while maintaining a high GPA. Most of my friends thought I was crazy. A justifiable belief when I was burning the candle at every end. It took me a while to realize that the reason I was pushing myself so hard was that I was bored.
Half of the books on the reading list in my English courses were stories I already knew. Many of them I loved. Writing research papers and essays that dissected them wasn’t difficult for me intellectually. It did make me realize by the end of my second year that becoming a professor myself, a long time goal of mine, was never going to happen. My love for reading runs too deeply to spend a lifetime taking apart the stories that other people took so long to craft. One of my favourite teachers attributed this to my empathy. She said that I have a gift for understanding the emotion underneath the words.
My decision to take time off of school and travel was one of the best I have ever made. It renewed that curious spark inside of me that had been all but snuffed out during college and work. I wanted to see and hear and do everything. By opening myself up to experiences that both terrified and excited me I learned something every single day.
Surfing lessons with instructors who had spent their entire lives on the waves gave me more insight into geography than an entire semester of classwork. One of them drew a picture in the sand, showing me how the currents, the reefs, the winds and the sand all combine to make the perfect surfing waves. It was the most inspirational classrooms I have ever been in.
Rock climbing in New Zealand brought me back to geology. Visiting a Maori marae or listening to an Australian Aboriginal discuss dreamtime gave me a deeper appreciation of our teachings about the Native peoples of Canada. Hiking the fjords of Norway, touring the castles of England and Scotland, walking the edge of the Grand Canyon. All things I have done in the past 5 years. Each and every one was a lesson in and of itself.
Sometimes I miss school. I do want to go back and finish my degree. Right now however there is no reason for me to. I am enjoying catering and designing, neither of which I need a BA for. Returning to the classroom now would slow my progress. It would take time away from my business, from my writing, from my new puppy. Once I have a bit more time, a lot more money and even a smidgeon more patience I will finish the last couple of semesters.
For now I am content to read every day, write every day, knit and sew, cook and cater. I choose my own curriculum and I am never bored. My biggest problem is choosing what to do with my day. It is a wonderful life and I am thankful for it every day.