Live and learn… literally

From the Archives

Originally published January 24, 2012

Ever wondered whether there is any literal truth in any of the clichés you’ve heard all your life? Take a page from the book of Jemile Deshaun Holland, whom I endearingly call JH. JH exemplifies the virtues of the “live and learn” adage every day. As many times as I read Facebook posts about his chill modes at his favorite hide-outs and hotspots, I still see evidence of the energy and focus he puts into learning something new every day.

According to the laws of stereotype, we shouldn’t have gotten along as well as we did when we worked together at a local non-profit that manages charter schools. After all, we both boasted (territorial) IT experience and background. JH was forever studying some online tutorial or other about Microsoft Access (which I despise) or Exchange (which we abandoned). And he was already great at what he did in our IT department. Still, every day he would regale our offices with tales of his latest learning exploits. He wasn’t into Apple. He wasn’t into FileMaker Pro. Still, whatever he WAS into, he was INTO!

When we were still coworkers, he had been studying FileMaker Pro AND QuickBooks so he could support the Finance Team better. Not long after I’d left the company, he’s fully immersed in Apple computers, a product of designing the computer network at the high school his firm is revamping. And he still knows how to relax like nobody’s business! Go ahead and take a page; learn to… live AND learn.

Update: I was saddened to learn a few years ago that JH passed away after battles with diabetes and depression. I hadn’t heard from him in some years, and upon meeting his siblings at a memorial service held for him months after his passing, I found some photos of him from events hosted by the company for which we worked together. I’ve shared these with his family and offer them here with a current and relevant message that living and learning go hand in hand, that we all battle demons, and that we can all do better to check in on one another from time to time. I wish I had done the latter with JH.