I’ll be the first person to admit that I hated school as a child. I still think our public school system is dramatically messed up, to be honest. When I learned more about the founding of our country from a musical than I ever did in class, something is wrong. I hated everyone I went to school with. I hated several of my teachers. I was frankly terrified of the principal. Some of my teachers were exceptional people who taught me things that had nothing to do with their subject, and I’ll forever owe them a debt. But to get to them, I had to suffer through the lazy, the proud and the arrogant. Not to mention my peers, who were mostly interested in quoting South Park and impregnating each other as soon as possible.
But I always enjoyed learning. With the exception of Math, I found value in all of my classes. (Yes, I realize that Math is important. But I can figure out a 20% tip in my head, tally up a grocery bill and adjust a cooking recipe by either deciding or multiplying a fraction. So obviously I absorbed enough to get by, okay?)
Now that I’m an adult, I get to learn about whatever I want, whenever I want. If I have the time, that is. Oh, and if I can afford it. But that’s kind of adulthood in a nutshell. All of the freedom to do whatever you want, and none of the time or cash to do it anyway.
That’s why I’ve made my word of 2018 learn. I want to focus this year on establishing a habit of learning new things. I realized that I don’t have to spend a lot of money on this. I can find classes online for nothing. I won’t be accredited, but that’s not what I’m after.
Here are eight things I’m doing to learn more this year.
Learning a new language with Dulingo
I don’t feel like enough Americans are bilingual. There, I said it. So I’m doing my part by learning a second language, German. I chose German because I have family there. And, once I start learning it I can look up German fairy tales. I’m fully aware that to be truly bilingual takes years of study. Good thing I’m starting now.
Doing free writing
You learn about writing by reading and (duh) writing. Writing exercises and freewriting are crucial parts of that. So don’t shirk your daily exercises, kids.
Taking some courses in poetry
I love poetry, but I’m really bad at poetry. But it still fascinates me so! So I’m going to take some free classes to learn about poetry. It might not make me a better poet, but I’ll have fun. I’ll be sure to share a link when I find one.
Reading history books for pleasure
I have always devoured historical fiction. So this year I intend to go straight to the source and actually read some history books. I’m particularly fascinated by the War of The Roses and America’s founding. Be prepared for some blog posts about weird stuff I find, I’m sure.
Finding spots of historical significance when we go on vacation
My family tries to go somewhere different every year for vacation, but this year we plan on repeating one. We went to DC a couple years ago, and we really want to go back. We didn’t see all of the Smithsonian’s the first time, you see. We did see the Hope Diamond and the original concept art for Sonic The Hedgehog. But there’s so much more!
Watching informational shows on TV
I’m all for the educational value of TV. I watched every episode of Bill Nye Saves The World. I love watching animal documentaries. I even love those Ken Burns documentaries about wars. So if I’m going to crash on my couch and watch TV at the end of the day (and I am) I might as well get something out of it.
Listening to more podcasts
Like a lot more. I walk to work, and it’s a 20-minute walk. Why am I wasting all of that time?!
Reading better newsletters and magazines
I get several newsletters that I read daily. I used to get a subscription to Wired, but I let it lapse. There’s just so much information out there, that I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this more. The three big newsletters I read are The Skimm, Lisa Jacob’s, and The Flylady. Those three keep me up to date on the news, give me marketing tips and help me keep my house tidy.
We live in a crappy old house that breaks a lot. I don’t like having people in my house. I want to learn to fix things around my house so I don’t have to pay someone.
I also watch YouTube to learn to draw better, cook cool things, and knit. I did learn to knit by watching YouTube. I also learned to do my makeup better. I also learn tons of random or creepy crap. See, it’s not all snack boxes and video game walkthroughs!
I hope there’s never a time when I stop learning new things. I hope that you’re still learning new things too, no matter what age you are.
So, what are you learning right now?