Tag: joy

Yearning for Learning…

We all have those points we reach where we re-evaluate where we are and what we want. I honestly think that it’s part of the process by which we make sure we’re not repeating mistakes and are on the path we want to be on.

As you all know, I started my own consulting business about a year ago, and it’s been a learning experience to say the least. I’ve learned more about the business world and finance and taxes in the last year than I had in decades prior.

It occurred to me that one thing I truly love to do is learn…be it people…trees…the wind…math…okay…maybe not math much anymore, but you know what I mean? My spark is still there…in scenarios where I have to immerse myself into an environments where I have no bearing, and no experience. While I am hardly getting rich by becoming my own boss, but I am enjoying a level of freedom that I didn’t even know when I was a kid. Part of that freedom has been having the time to take on learning TONS of subject matter I didn’t have time for beforehand, and recently, I’ve even started inquiring about tuition costs for school because unfortunately, some of the world I want to know lays buried in the books and lectures of professors I normally wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

The bottom line, I miss learning, I miss that feeling where I’m entering a completely new arena and have to soak in absolutely everything. It keeps my mind from getting too bored, which unfortunately is very easy for me if I don’t have a conversation going on…or a book to read…or the internet to soak in and learn about…well…everything. Well, as I’ve learned recently, an undergraduate degree acquired online costs over $70k. Yup.

That is what I said. HOLY CHRIST ON A POGO STICK…SEVENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS…

…and that is 100% do it yourself computer based training.

Unfortunately, as I stated above, I have time – but money like that – not readily available, especially considering my health problems and trying to buy a house this year…I know it’s simply not an option at rates like that.

So here comes that spark…

I’ve been a TED subscriber for quite some time, and the messages you hear on it are incredible…there are soooooo many people out there trying to broaden our horizons and make this world a far better place, it’s pretty inspiring. So much that I’ve tried to make sure I watch at least a few TED video’s every week or two so that I know what they know, or at the very lest can draw some ideas or inspiration.

And earlier today I saw this article on free courses offered online…

TED Blog – Completely free online classes? Coursera.org now offering courses from 16 top colleges

TED.com - Ideas Worth Spreading

And after that I checked out Coursera.org and found that t wasn’t the degree I longed for…it was the education, thee information, and the opportunity to soak more of the world or turn my brain to jello trying.

I went on to find a number of other organizations that offer free education and courses. I realized that some people and organization were finally trying to improve the world, by allowing the mind to grow. In a society that puts a price on access to virtually any information, there are finally a number of organization that are trying to share that wealth instead of profiteering from it.

Again. Me. Inspired!

So where did all that take me?

I have the time, I am going to take it and learn as much as I can while I still have it. There are already more courses out there than I could finish in the next decade, and I think that within the next few years the amount of curricula available will grow exponentially.

You’re probably reading this and thinking Jeez Tony you could have just said, “I’m going back to school.”

True, I could have, but then I wouldn’t have shared all these nifty links to all these places online that provide free education.

The Khan Academy – TONS of video and stuff…LOADS…I also found these guys from TED.

OpenLearn– I haven’t tried these guys yet but they have a huge course selection.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health – Open Coursework from a great Medical School. Prize material for med students!

Tufts University – More Med school offerings


Stanford University
– That’s right, Stanford has buku lectures free via iTunes!!!!

UC Berkeley – More from UC Berkeley, available via iTunes!

OpenCulture – Has a FEKTON of courses listed available online.

Education Portal – Good information regarding online coursework.

What did I find for myself? A sustainability class, some newer Philosophy classes, loads of history classes I might actually like learning from…bottom line…enough for me to really enjoy regardless of where I learn it.

๐Ÿ˜‰

-Tony




The first step…

A long time ago, I taught myself that the hardest step was the last.

As it happens, that so not true.

The hardest step is the first. We should all want to be better, and I think that that specific decision…THATS the hard one.

The decision that says, “Okay, I might not want to rule the world…but I want to make my part of it a better place to live in.”

Or maybe like whatever happens, you get it in your head that before you move on to greener pastures, you have to be someone’s hero, or be a hero to the world or mother nature, or your kids or your parents…whatever. The need to stop living status quo and move forward, and live by example, or at least live in a manner that isn’t centered on self gratuity that will let me, when than time comes (hopefully a very very long time from now) I will lay my head down with such an amazingly clear conscience that the the universe’ only option will be to sweep me up and show me what I missed.

I’m not sure if that’s some sort of karma, or maybe some afterlife of kundalini. But what I am sure is that I am pretty sure I know what it’s like to be at peace, and while I am not always in that happy place, I know how to get there. The joy in a child’s smile, the love in a girlfriends embrace. They might just be examples but they are definitely good ones. I’ve been such a die-hard loner for so long I think I actually forgot how to be someone’s better half, or even to recognize it when they might be mine.

It’s actually kind of freaking me out. No I am so not having any midlife crisis. I’m pretty sure everyone realizes that a guy with the mental development of a twelve year old doesn’t actually get a mid-life crisis. Perks of being twelve on the inside I guess, I get to make fun of guys driving corvettes my entire life, rather than just the first half ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyhow, back on point. So it’s time. I’ve cleaned up, the only issue I have left to obliterate from my life is my health. I barely drink, I haven’t had a smoke in over a year and know for sure I’ll never need one again. The rest is just painful memories of a different guy that hadn’t figured out some important lessons yet. I can live with that, and those few friends that have learned to forgive and/or love me for the change are still around and I am far far stronger for it.

All that’s left is the physical remnants of depression and overwhelming and repeated loss. Lets see what you’re like after 5 good friends kill themselves in under 2 years…its actually more than that, 2 other people I knew as well…couple that with a couple crazy as hell ex’s and I am completely surprised I’m not in an institution. But…I digress.

This is about the first step. The one where I stop being overly concerned with all of my many many bad decisions and start living with my good decisions. I am working out, paying off the last round of credit, and finally starting to make plans on a house. I am hardly planning for the white picket fence, I don’t know that I’m even a good candidate for it. But I know I am happy when I am helping people, so that the direction this goes. Making myself happy, and in the process hopefully sharing a little of that happy with my loved ones ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s not really a bad first step is it?

-T