Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In The Pursuit of Knowledge

When I was about 7 years old I had the experience of going out to fetch the newspaper early one morning at the very end  of summer. I returned to the kitchen with a big smile on my face:" It smells like it's time to go to school outside," I exclaimed to my mother. What my nose experienced, but my 7 year old vocabulary could not express, was that the air smelled that cool, crisp aroma of the promise of Autumn that is a sure sign the first day of school is very near .I still use that expression with my kids and grandkids: "It smells like it's time for school out there," I will tell them as we make plans for shopping trips to obtain the necessary new backpacks, lunch bags and school supplies.

I loved school. I was born wanting to know "why," and, "how?" I'm still asking those same questions, just on a bigger scale. I don't think I'll ever stop asking nor would I want to. That's why every year around this time I pick a subject or conceive of an idea and make it my "school project" for the year. I treat myself to a brand new notebook, it's pages bare and white, just waiting for the first stroke of my pen; a bunch of really cool pens, and a box of pencils which I sharpen immediately and place standing like soldiers in the cup on my desk that says, " I Love Grandma" as they await their orders (what better sensory memory of the first day of school than the smell of freshly sharpened pencils?).

One of the gifts of growing older is finding oneself with free time that we didn't have before the chicks left the nest and our lives suddenly became our own for the first time in years. Here, now, is the opportunity to explore and to learn. What are you curious about? What makes you want to ask "why," and, "how?" I've studied everything from quantum physics and the God Particle to re-learning how to knit. Last year I took on the huge task of reading A Course In Miracles and doing the workbook. If you don't know what this is, I suggest you Google it and be prepared to lose yourself in the story of how this philosophy for a life filled with love and joy came into being. I am told that there are people who have spent decades studying this book and I can tell you that I will be picking it up again this year. In addition, I have decided to learn all there is to know about nutrition and alternative ideas about how we should eat. I am especially interested in foods that combat inflammation, going wheat free and dairy free, and why people who lived their lives on the Mediterranean Diet live to such ripe old ages with more energy than I had at 30.

Pursuing knowledge shouldn't be reserved for the young. Studies have shown that learning new things as we get older helps us to live healthier and more productive lives not to mention helping to ward off diseases of the brain that are associated with aging. I believe that an inquisitive mind is a healthy mind.

For the next few weeks I am going to learn all about green smoothies and juicing even though I am not at all fond of kale, nor the idea of drinking something that looks like garden clippings in liquid form ... but I will continue on my quest to conquer yet another landscape in this journey called life. Won't  you join me? What would you like to learn? Go for it!

And so it is.