As with youth, education can often be wasted on youth. So I made a conscious decision from a young age that learning is something I could remember later in life. When I was ready
In the meantime, I focused on being a bit of a schoolyard muddle, a class nut, and a hard-working underachiever.
What I was taught in class went in one ear and out the other. That is, if in the first place I’ve been listening intently enough for these pearlescent words of wisdom to navigate my inner ear.
Slowly but eventually, as is the case with many people who come of age late and realize that in their indifference to being happy they will never get what they want, I discovered a hunger for the important things that I do had left behind.
Which brings me to a sunny and blustery day last week when I donned the robes of a master’s degree and received my degree with all the pomp and circumstance Trinity is known for.
Conducting the ceremony in the grand old exam room, all in Latin, irritates those who are quick to stumble over everything.
But it’s a precious tradition, dating back to the 1590s, and it would be simple vandalism to wipe it out now.
Having had to give up my elementary school degree for a rather shoddy and tepid Zoom release during the height of Covid, I was adamant I would make it up this time. I wasn’t even concerned what language it came in.
So I did. As do we all. What a day it has become. Quite a night too.
Celebrating good things is important. More than ever after this cursed pandemic. If that message needed to be rammed home, the war in Ukraine is a timely reminder.
Most of the students around me had worked the overtime for very practical professional reasons.
For me and more than a few ghastly veterans, it was about a thirst for cognitive adventure that was ignited long after the education system officially spat us out.
For others of a given vintage who have the time, inclination, or curiosity—or at least two of those three—I strongly recommend following a similarly long and tortuous path.
Like me, it could be history. Or the classics, literature, languages. Never too late to take legal action. But it can be anything. On every level. Somewhere.
Most of us have the time too. There are only a limited number of opportunities to swing a golf club or take the pooch on a tour of his favorite lampposts.
It’s not easy, but things worth doing never are. Any qualification, diploma or degree worthy of the name will keep you up at night, either because you are late completing a project or worrying about where to start.
But it’s a controllable stress, a competitive addiction to fighting with your best self. You feel alive and alive.
In the end it works. Then you sit in your robes and wait for your name to be announced. A proud moment, in any language.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/golf-is-for-tuesdays-but-learning-is-for-life-and-its-never-too-late-to-get-yourself-that-qualification-41543701.html Golf is for Tuesdays, but learning is for life and it’s never too late to earn that qualification