What did you learn in 2016? Life lessons, an academic subject, a life skill? What knowledge, information or skill are you currently pursuing?
This is the time of year when I think we all could use a boost both physically and mentally. Here in the mid-Atlantic all of our blooming daffodils and cherry trees are under a blanket of snow and ice. The winds have been fierce and the temperature cold. After a relatively mild winter it is hard to believe that now we are getting an arctic blast three days before the arrival of spring.
I am ready to shake off the snow, ice and winter debris and get ready for new growth.
I am ready to learn something new.
I am ready to physically and mentally move- to get my sluggish winter body out and about as well as firing up my hibernating brain cells.
The thing about learning is that it is never too late. I know a woman who started taking piano lessons in her nineties. She had always wanted to do so and never had the opportunity. So, her family purchased a keyboard for her to use in her retirement apartment and a piano teacher comes and gives her lessons every Saturday.
There is a wonderful book, Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman by the late Alice Steinbach. Ms. Steinbach traveled to various places in the world taking lessons and courses on specific topics: French cooking in Paris, Border Collie training in Scotland, Japanese arts in Kyoto to name a few. Most of us will never have the resources nor the time as Ms. Steinbach did but we can be inspired by her openness and curiosity.
What about you? What is something you have always wanted to learn? Piano lessons? Art classes? Fixing a complicated meal? Maybe a trip to Paris is not in the cards right now, but could you try fixing a French meal a la Julia Child?
My husband and I are planning to attend a class at the CSA farm where we purchase our meat. They will be demonstrating how to cut up a whole chicken. We get whole roasters through them but have never done anything with the chickens except, well, roast them whole. I have looked at various cook books on the cutting up of a chicken but I need the hands-on visual instruction.
I am looking forward to it.
Doesn't matter what the subject or activity might be, once we experience and learn something new, we have shifted our brain and muscle usage. The adage, use it or lose it, applies to both our brain neurons and our muscle cells. When we challenge ourselves with having to use our brain in new experiences, we improve our brain neurons and increase the synapses which send and receive information. Our physical challenges increase our muscle fibers which in turn produce stronger and leaner muscles as well as improvement in all the cardiac, immunity, endocrinological aspects of exercise.
Learning enhances our confidence, our mood, and our outlook on life. It improves our day.
It is the spring that is awaiting to be released.