This week's #TheYearToBe___ word is: knowledgeable. It is incumbent upon me to disclose the following: I had to look up (about a million times) how to spell this word. And I'm still not sure I got it right. So, take anything else you read today with a grain of salt.
Up until the moment I sat down to write this blog post, I considered myself a pretty knowledgeable person. I don’t have a super-specific PhD in some obscure field that puts me at the top of all speakers-bureau lists, but I’m an educated woman. Multiple degrees and a lifelong love of learning have ensured my brain folds are full of knowledge.
As I am wont to do, I sat down to make a list before I started writing this post. And the list of things I think I’m pretty knowledgeable about? Quite revealing. I think I’m pretty darn knowledgeable about lots of things. So many things made the list, in fact, that I might have accused myself of being a dilettante.
I shan’t bore you with the dirty details. But a dramatic reconstruction of the event would go a little something like this…
An attractive actor playing me was seated in an almost-empty Starbucks. She got out a pretty notebook and selected a pink pen. This devastatingly attractive young woman sat thoughtfully, sipped her latte, and put pen to paper. “What am I knowledgeable about,” she asked herself. The list was long, multiple columns on one side of the notebook. She went back several times over the list, considered crossing some items out, then reconsidered. “Dilettante,” she cried in the confines of her own disordered mind so as not to intrude on others’ quiet contemplative moments. She sipped at her cooling drink again, and decided to approach this list a different way. She drew a circle in the middle of a piece of paper and gave herself these instructions: put only those things you feel truly confident conversing about with someone who is also knowledgeable in said field inside the circle, and list everything else outside of the circle. Again, she put pink pen to paper. And when the exercise was complete, she looked at a paper full of scribbles with a gaping, blindingly white circle in the middle. [And scene.]
Let’s ignore for a moment what this says about the confidence I have in my own knowledge and look to a more positive extrapolation: it’s okay to not have a hole that’s filled up!
It’s okay to be curious and to know about lots of things. Or want to know about lots of things. Knowledge doesn’t have to have an end purpose. (Of course I believe those who do pursue a highly-specific field with determination are to be lauded.)
However, I’m delighted by my liberal arts education; more specifically, it never fails to delight me. I have the knowledge and skills necessary to learn. To acquire knowledge in a dizzying and greedy array of proficiency. On my own. Under the tutelage of a master. For the rest of my life.
And a lifetime of filling up that space around the circle is pretty darned exciting.