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Looking Back for the Future

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Is anyone else surprised it's 2009? I can hardly believe 2008 is over. January has been designated by General Kehler to be the month to focus on education and training. As I reflect back on this last year, I realized a few educational opportunities I instigated and others just happened. Both had positive outcomes.

Some of what I learned this year was attached to my goals and was more formal. For instance, I attended the Transition Assistance Program. What a great program with wonderful instructors who alerted me to my options. I think what I learned most is there are many things I need to get smarter on. That's the great thing about education; it often leads to a desire to learn more.

Sometimes learning wasn't so formal. Like getting used to an updated version of our common computer software - yikes, where did they hide those icons! You're smiling right?

You did a little learning yourself this last year didn't you? Add learning web changes to our personnel systems and we've all been learning quite a bit. I think we all need to remember these accomplishments as we tackle new ones. An attitude of "I can because I have" will go a long way toward future successes.

And for those of you who had to learn a new gadget, you have my respect. It was easy right? Just hit 20 buttons in sequence and presto! O.K., I exaggerate, but luckily I have a secret weapon, my 13 year old, who teaches me. But just when I think she's a genius, I ask for her help with the laundry and she can't decide which pile her colored shirt should be in. Finding partners who you can share learning back and forth can be very beneficial.

Learning becomes a balance of achieving specific goals and yet being open to those opportunities which just happen. It's not being afraid to take the first steps because we all have a list of past accomplishments. And it's about partnering with those who can really make a difference. There are many base agencies that specialize in helping people with their educational goals - stop by or give them a call. Optimal health goes a long way to support your learning objectives too so don't forget the medical group!

I wish you an enriching 2009 filled with tons of wonderful things to learn. But beware, 2009 will be over before you know it.