I am a lifelong learner. I didn’t realize it until I ran across an article in a magazine about lifelong learning. According to Wikipedia, lifelong learning is the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. It enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, personal development, self-sustainability, competitiveness, and employability.
As I have mentioned before, I love to read and that love of reading leads me to seek out new ideas as I expand my lifetime book list. I expected reading to be a part of my lifetime learning. What took me by surprise was having my learning take me in unexpected directions. I have stepped outside my comfort zone and I am amazed at the things I have learned.
I have always been a do-it-yourselfer around the house. I mow my lawn, rake leaves, weed flower beds. I have stained my deck and painted trim on the exterior of the house.
Inside I have painted walls, pulled up carpet, distressed unfinished hardwood floors. And I am aware I’m not the only one who does that. What hadn’t yet dawned on me is that all these activities have taught me new skills. Lifelong learning is not limited to academics and classrooms.
Recently I discovered instructional videos on YouTube. I searched for help when my toilet stopped functioning properly. I actually installed a flush valve. And I was overly proud of myself, but I really never thought I could actually fix a toilet.
I have been exploring different yoga practices on YouTube and I am learning how much I don’t know. Branching out into new areas appeals to me. I’m currently trying my hand at hip-hop yoga. (We’ll pause here while everyone who knows me laughs hysterically.)
Lifelong learners reap many benefits from their efforts. Lifelong learning can improve self-confidence, keep the brain healthy and mind sharp, provide an opportunity to learn practical life skills, model positive behavior for children and/or grandchildren, and can lead to enjoyable leisure activities.
I like this quotation from Henry Ford, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Lifelong learning begins at birth, and never has to stop.
Being a lifelong learner occurs when one seeks out new experiences, whether with a group, in a class, or alone. I tend to do a lot of self-teaching. Trial and error are definitely factors in my quest for knowledge.
There are so many opportunities to learn new things. Some of my latest interests include art (mainly visual), building furniture, and tiling a countertop. Consider things you always thought you’d like to try. And don’t forget books, puzzles, and word games. It surprises me sometimes how much I learn completing crossword puzzles.
I invite you to join me in this quest for knowledge. Lifetime learning is good for us as individuals and is beneficial for our community.