Friday, April 5, 2013

Learning it can't be Learned

If you know me… you may know the 4 little words that have been attributed as my unofficial mantra. 

“Say it with Confidence” 

If you don’t know, make something up and say it with confidence
If you might be wrong, but think you’re right, just say it with confidence
If you absolutely know you are right… by all means, say it with confidence.  (catching the gist?)

I remember my parents trying to drill the words “in my opinion” into my vocabulary.  Trying desperately to teach me to not state opinion or whim as cold hard fact.

I remember being in class and unable to stand the silence of an unanswered question.  My fingers would tap, my feet fidget… I would try as long as possible to hold back (seconds would feel like eternity) until finally, when I could stand the uncomfortable silence no longer, I would raise my hand in relief, and confidently answer the question. 

I hate when things go unanswered…

We’re supposed to learn as we go:
Writing, Reading, Arithmetic. 
Driving.  Dating.  Breakups.
Laundry.  Making your own meals and balancing your own budget. 
Resumes.  Bills.  Taxes… 

Most things come with age and experience.  Some take longer than others… (Boundaries).  Some lessons feel like you may never learn them…(Humility).  We acquire answers and knowledge in a multitude of places in a myriad of ways.  Our questions will eventually get answered… right?

I am a learner.  I love stuffing my brain full of tid-bits of information like a piñata full of candy.  I hate when I don’t know something. I will google it on the spot or make something up until I can research it later.  I must have an answer to give.  And in most things I can wear this “I know all things mask” and get by.  I can do a quick wiki search and find the ingredients in that “Army Navy” cocktail or tell you how to replace your rear brake pads.  I’m really good at finding the answers I need.  I’m really good at Learning.

But what happens when there are no answers. When it can’t be found out there in the wonderful world wide web.  When I can’t learn my way through it.

That… That is the hardest lesson.  That not everything has an answer.  That not everything can be learned.  Some things are just…. uncomfortable, sticky, mean, grey anomalies.   

In my 27 years I’ve learned a lot (and forgotten much too).   But the most challenging lesson I wish I had learned earlier is that in reality there are limits to learning.  There are things without answers.  There are difficult “Why’s” that I desperately desire to resolve.  There are reasons and rationales that slip into that much loathed “mystery” file.   

I still hate not knowing. 
Some lessons you learn and some answers you find one day.                                                                                                      And some you can only hold lightly and pray that the unknowning doesn’t crush you.

I wish I had known that earlier.

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