One social media trend is to share old personal photos on Thursday. Known as Throwback Thursday (#TBT), this gives people the opportunity to share funny or embarrassing photos from their pasts. Although I have yet to partake in TBT on my own personal social media pages, I do find that at times reflecting on my past is helpful in understanding where I am today.
While going through old school photos recently I realized that I was wiser when I was younger than I am now in one particular way. How? When I was younger I explored more. I explored everything that interested me and took advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves. What were some of the things that I did?
1. I read books…constantly. The number one item on my Christmas/Birthday lists were Border’s gift cards. After the holidays I would carefully plan my book list and set out to the store. By the time I was done I had a pile of books that I would proceed to organize in the order I wanted to read them.
2. I joined a variety of clubs and teams despite the odds that were against me in succeeding. I joined Speech and Debate despite the fact that I turn cherry red every time I speak in front of people (I still do). I played tennis, despite occasionally tripping over myself when trying to shuffle my feet (I continue to struggle with coordination). I joined other, more traditional clubs like Teen Institute and Key Club as well, but the most unique club I joined was my school’s Pulsar Group. I didn’t even know what a pulsar was at the time, but I knew I wanted to join (Tragically…I never found a pulsar).
3. I also went to camp. What kind of camp? An alternative and complementary medical treatment camp (we called it Nerd Camp at the time). Why did I go? Because I tried going to Girl Scout Camp in 5th grade and left after an hour (the outdoors ranked low on my list of interests at the time). In reality, I went to the healthcare camp during high school because I knew I was interested in healthcare and was curious about holistic healing (Plus really..who doesn’t want an excuse to meditate for an hour every day for a week?).
Since graduating from high school, my tendency to explore has decreased. I was involved with a variety of activities during college, but didn’t spend a lot of time exploring new things just because I was curious about them. Why? Part of it was being more limited on time, but it also became less of a priority to me. I have realized that this trend has continued since beginning graduate school. I do still spend time reading Popular Science and exploring research articles, but I don’t place exploration as a priority.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gained a greater sense of what interests me and what I love doing. Despite this, I know there are so many more things that I could enjoy learning about and doing. I have always believed that learning and exploring is a life-long process. Unfortunately it seems as though I’ve gotten away from making it a priority and I want this to change. Even if it’s just through making more time to read books, I want to do it.