Lifelong learning

My seatmate on a plane recently was a middle-aged man on a business trip. We struck up a conversation, which included the range of usual topics: jobs, families, home cities, and frequent flier status. When he heard that I am a radio host and trained musician, he told me about his own background playing several instruments as a young child and teen. He even expressed his hope to resume playing at least piano in the near future. As our conversation evolved, the man explained that he also likes to learn languages — he has been learning Mandarin (!) using a variety of programs, apps and, eventually a tutor. He plans to tackle Italian soon. And he enthusiastically promised to listen to Sunday Baroque!

It warms my heart to meet people so personally committed to lifelong learning and so open to seeking out new experiences. This busy person with many responsibilities MAKES time to pursue things that keep his mind nimble, feed his curiosity, and expand his knowledge.┬áDespite a demanding job and challenging travel schedule — or perhaps because of it — he remains committed to his personal growth. What a great example he set for his now grown children, who are pursuing their own dreams and goals in meaningful, take-charge ways.

I believe this kind of open, positive attitude is an important component of a happy, healthy life. Rather than making excuses for why I can’t do something, I try to seek ways to do things I love, to keep learning and growing, to challenge and exercise my mind and body, and to broaden my horizons. They range from simple, low- and no-cost things to bigger “bucket list” aspirations. I try not to defer these important goals because I am keenly aware that “some day” may not come.

So I offer YOU this encouragement to tackle something you’ve been meaning or wanting to do — read that book languishing on your nightstand, pick up the instrument gathering dust in your closet or the one you’ve always wanted to play, learn something new (a language, ballroom dancing, knitting?), take a walk or run, write a letter to a friend … do that “thing” you’ve been putting off indefinitely, making excuses for why you can’t or why you don’t have the time or energy. Take a first step, whatever it may be.

And then … please check in here and tell me about it, so I can give you more encouragement!