Lifelong learning is not just a buzz word, in my opinion, but a selective behavior of active and successful people. I like to count myself among them, and although I have been traveling since my early childhood as a part of a military family, I have lived longer in Georgia than anywhere else.
That travel helped me see the world through many different lenses without realizing it. Living in the desert was a wonderful experience with all the beautiful and majestic saguaro cactus, little did we know then, that Tucson would be in the midst of a National Park when I went skinny dipping in Sabino Canyon, because in 1994, they created the Saguaro National Park. I have such fun memories of hiking in the desert with my canteen and little pocket knife. I needed the knife, of course, to ward off all the creatures of the desert. Imagine!! And what were the creatures? Actually, some are quite formidable, such as rattlesnakes, sidewinders (that travel in speeds exceeding 20 MPH – which my dad learned the hard way when he had to jump on the hood of the car to have mother start moving!), scorpions, javelinas aka wild pigs (very dangerous, even had a cougar up a cactus to get away from them. Life Magazine January 8, 1965) and although I was born in Texas, i spent most of my elementary school in Arizona and my favorite animal, apart from our Siamese cat named Hut-Sut I, was actually a prehistoric one called the “horny toad“.
My next “lens” for viewing the world, after more stations in the US, was living in Bermuda for several years where i attended a private school, and a Catholic school, and learned how to tie a tie, since both girls and boys wore ties with their uniforms! We lived right on the water (my dad was a genius!) and he and I would snorkel to our heart’s content. This looks a lot like our view, we did not have a beach as such, but a small concrete pier.
Bermuda is a British colony and I acquired a rather convincing British accent which did not serve me well when we returned to the states to the city of Abilene because the first question asked when meeting someone new was where were you born (big question in Texas at that time), and i replied sincerely in my British accent: Fort Worth.
But I had learned about tennis while we lived in Bermuda because many of the professional players came there and so I wanted to put into practice what I had seen so during the preceding summers before going to high school, played and competed in city leagues and won each time, so i was selected for the high school team to represent my school.
When I graduated high school, we moved to California, my dad’s home, and that began my traveling and personal journey. That journey would include exciting work in the ministry for a dear friend, Ruth Carter Stapleton, visits to the Georgia Governor’s residence in Atlanta while her brother was Governor, and then to the White House while her brother was President.
Other work included working for an international geotechnical firm as a marketing director and traveling around the country and working with the Pentagon and as the Project Administrator for the Brine Storage Reservoir portion of the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port and sharing with the team of McClelland Engineers – St. Louis Division, the ASCE Engineering Project of the Year award.
When I moved to Georgia to care for my mother and later my father as his caregiver, that began an entirely new lens for me. With my dad’s help, I opened by first business, an executive suite in Dunwoody, and later did consulting work until i was needed full-time at home, then I worked online. As I was able, continued to be involved with church and nonprofit groups, serving on boards, helping raise funds, exploring new ways to solve problems, and developing teams, such as our Caregivers group at church helping resolve many needs that had been expressed by the congregation of feeling distanced, and not valued, in new and exciting ways.
Now that I am poised to graduate with my Master’s in IT from KSU, I expect that will begin a new chapter and another lens for me to view and respond to life. One aspect that was unexpected, but so central, were the groups i have participated with in my college years. They have all added to my knowledge and experience which has been most precious.
This blog is a part of what promises to be an essential study of “A Systems Approach to Small Group Interaction” and being a part of so many groups, including community volunteer organizations, nonprofits, business, and ecommerce, I have every confidence that this will be a capstone for helping me achieve even more success in my continuing efforts to bring about positive change in the world.