My grandchildren weren't the only ones stocking up on school supplies this week. At the start of each school year I pick a subject I want to know more about, a skill I want to learn, or a totally new idea I want to explore. Thanks to the miracle of the internet and the availability of online learning, there is nothing I can't learn or explore. For someone who has loved learning all my life, September feels like Christmas to me.
My mother always used to tell me that "why" was my favorite word. My dad was a auto mechanic and when I had a problem with my car, it wasn't enough for him to just tell me what the problem was. I needed all the facts. My dad even went so far as to draw me a picture when I wasn't grasping the problem. When my teachers would present something as fact, I was the only kid in the class to challenge the validity of her statement ... even in 1st grade!
Years later, when I returned to school in my 30's to get my Bachelors Degree in Comparative Religion, all of my professors would point to me as an example of what education was all about. It wasn't just about passing tests and getting a good job. It was about not being afraid to challenge the status quo. It was about building a meaningful life.
As I've gotten older, learning new things and exploring new ideas keeps me young in body, mind and spirit. I like to be challenged, even if I find out I've been mistaken about something. We're never really wrong, we're just doing the best we can with the knowledge and experience we have at the time, and as my beloved Maya Angelo always said: "When you knew better, you did better,"
This year I want to "know better" about alternative methods and ideas about healthy aging in body, mind, and spirit. I want to explore herbal medicine, healthy mind sets, and what folks living in "Blue Zones," - places in the world where people live longer and healthier than their counterparts in the west - know that we don't. In the meantime, I'm sharpening my pencils and picking up some more spiral notebooks. Something tells me this is going to be a BIG subject!
And so it is