Lifelong Learning

By Stacie Prada

When the kids return to school, traffic patterns change and I may follow the school bus on my morning commute to work.  There are fewer tourists in my town and fewer colleagues away on vacation. Stores and ad campaigns feature school supplies and products useful for students going back to school. “Back to School” season is a terrific annual reminder that learning doesn’t end after finishing school. I consider how much lifelong learning I’ve done and hope to attempt, the possibilities grow, and I’m motivated to plan more.

A lot of learning comes naturally.  Something breaks, and I search online for a video on how to fix it. A health issue flares up, and I search for information on causes, symptoms, and treatments. Books and documentaries are suggested, and I’m intrigued enough to check them out. A social media feed pops up with something that teaches me something I didn’t know.  This can be a lot of learning, and it can be enough.

Life circumstances often compete with life goals, which can hold us back from dreaming big. Multiple Sclerosis affects my health and beliefs about what’s possible for me, and so does aging, work, responsibilities, and finances. Mini doses of learning keep things interesting, and they can remind us of the possibilities.   

What excites me? What’s holding me back? How may I learn more about it? 

Options for learning abound. Consider local or virtual workshops, classes, and training. Conversations with friends and internet searches can lead to fantastic opportunities.  Dream big and work backward for what steps can lead there. Small steps today can change life’s trajectory and lead to significant achievements later. 

Learning, growing, connecting, and contributing are tremendous activities for fulfillment. Being able to do some things may not be possible as we envision them, yet learning about them can broaden our perspective on how we could incorporate them into our lives. Ultimately, learning is not about the information, it’s about how it changes us. It changes how we perceive, understand, and interact in life. The possibilities alone are exciting!

*Stacie Prada was diagnosed with RRMS in 2008 just shy of 38 years old.  Her blog, “Keep Doing What You’re Doing” is a compilation of inspiration, exploration, and practical tips for living with Multiple Sclerosis while living a full, productive, and healthy life with a positive perspective. It includes musings on things that help her adapt, cope, and rejoice in this adventure on earth. Please visit her at http://stacieprada.blogspot.com/ 

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About MSAA

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit www.mymsaa.org or call (800) 532-7667.

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