Living Gently…Every Day: Learning

We live in a world of violence, self-indulgence and entitled behaviors. Our daily news can be both overwhelming and depressing. But, how different could things be if we all embraced a few positive changes? What are the endless possibilities that could come about if we found ways to support, encourage and empower one another? Each month, we’ll explore a new way to embrace a way to live more gently, and hopefully, create a ripple effect in the lives around us.

Wise Words: I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.” ~Eartha Kitt

Last month, the kids started back to school. In the spring, a new batch of graduates, fresh from the classroom, will go forth, prepared to leave their mark on the world. They will feel that they have learned much and will be ready to conquer any challenge. Those of us who have been out of school for a while know that classroom education is nothing compared to the practical, real life education of daily living. In that sense, we are always learning. I can say with absolute certainty that at 40, I know much more than I did at 30, and way, way more than I did at 20. Life is an ongoing textbook and anyone who says they don’t need to learn anything new is an example of complete ignorance.

As adults, we have an obligation to ourselves to constantly stimulate our minds and learn. I’m not saying that everyone should take up a calculus class, because I can promise you – that would be torture for me. But hey! If you love math – go for it! We should look for ways to continue to learn things that hold interest for us. By doing so, we make ourselves more interesting people, better conversationalists, and overall, more well-rounded individuals.

My husband for example: Wayne is a drummer who started playing when he was 12 years old. At 44, he will be the first to tell you that he’s still learning. He is an exceptional drummer. I love that he recognizes that there’s still room to learn. He embraces the opportunities to continue to hone his skills.

Kim Beane, our content editor at Forsyth Woman, recently shared on Facebook about her passion for horseback riding. She didn’t start riding until she was 40, and she wondered if she started too late to ever master riding. Even though she pondered this question “aloud” to her Facebook friends, she followed up the question with “Regardless, I’m sure I’ll keep squeezing my 46 year old body into riding breeches, strapping on my helmet and doing my amateur walk/trot/canter as often as I can, with hopefully some cross rails to jump occasionally, too.”

I find this so inspiring. Wayne and Kim are far from old, but whether it’s continuing to explore a life-long passion, or pursuing a new one – it’s never too early, or too late, to embrace a new opportunity to learn.

And you never know where learning one skill can take you to another. For instance, in my late-20s, I learned to knit, and in the process of knitting, became fascinated by yarn. So, I learned to spin it. While I no longer knit or spin the way I used to (and would love to resume it), it’s a skill (knitting) that spawned an interest (spinning) I would have never considered if I hadn’t started with the former.

What is something you’ve always wanted to learn? Maybe it’s a new language? Maybe you want to learn to paint? Maybe you have an interest in playing piano or another interest? Maybe you want to learn more about the French Revolution? Whatever it is – embrace your inner curiosity and take the time to learn. It may not be a practical topic that you can necessarily use in every day life, but so what? It will still empower you and make you a richer person.