Unwanted Learning

Being robbed has taught me a lot of things that I never wanted to learn:

  • How to complete an incident report
  • How locksmiths replace door locks (and how much it costs)
  • How to make Facebook posts public and a little bit viral
  • How to download videos from the internet
  • How to prove your identity without a driver’s license, credit card, debit card, student ID, or insurance
  • How long the wait-time is to talk with a police officer
  • Etc…

When I step back from all of the emotion of the experience, I connect this learning with what I previously advocated regarding adult students in higher education: We need to respond to what they need, not just what they want.  I did not want to learn any of the things above.  None of them were on my To Do List, my Bucket List, or in any daydream If Only Wish List.  But due to circumstances beyond my control, I needed to learn them to survive the past two weeks, and the coming weeks of recovery steps.

The pain of these learning experiences has been balanced by other learnings that I never wanted:

  • That a new friendship can be just as deep and trustworthy as one years old (Thank you Ashley and Afton for being with me that morning)
  • That you cannot survive trauma alone (Thank you Mom for your support and demanding that I call someone for help.  Thank you Susan for being there and making me eat, and thank you Robbie for sharing her)
  • That there are many more kind people in my city than cruel ones, and in cyberspace too
  • That a year’s absence does not make a kind friend any less amazing and kind and responsive to your random email (Thank you Barbi for my replacement button; its back in my backpack)
  • That real friends are okay if everything else falls away during crisis (Amanda, Megan, Ashley, and Mercedes are just a few of the people who adapted to my world-shift)
  • That most people will give space to your story without shaming you
  • Etc…

I did not want this experience, and if there was a way to take it all away, I totally would.  But since that is not how this world works (believe me, I’ve prayed a lot for a time machine lately), I am glad that clouds have silver linings and survived trauma has wisdom.

Someday this will all be a book, or perhaps a chapter regarding the marathon that is my life.  For now its a list of learnings that I keep adding to.


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