Earlier today, my wife and I were talking about the baby we have due in six weeks' time. (We talk about this a lot.) We were considering how quickly babies grow, and how quickly they learn. A whole new individual takes form, its body, its personality, it's whole being evolving on a daily basis. From one week to another it picks up new skills: holding a cup, grasping a spoon, crawling, walking, talking.
We never learn so much, so quickly, as when we are children.
Is the converse true? If we keep learning, and keep acquiring new skills, do we stay young?
For a child, a completely new thing is utterly fascinating. As we grow older, there are fewer new things to discover, and come to think that every day is like any other. We've seen and done it all before. And because we don't experience it as often, we forget just how much fun the thrill of discovery is! Find that thrill, and you'll find your inner child.
One of my goals in life is to have as much fun as possible. And learning new things is one of life's greatest pleasures. So I owe it to myself to consider the following question on a regular basis:
What can I do this month that I couldn't do last month?
If I can't answer this with something new, interesting and fascinating, then I must be doing something wrong. This month, for instance, I have learned how to play hi-hat ostinatos on my drum kit. Very soon, I'll be learning how to change nappies.
- Learn a new language. Visit a foreign country, and learn all about it while you're there!
- Learn to play a musical instrument. Then, learn how to play along with your favourite songs!
- Learn to juggle. Then, learn to do tricks with juggling balls!
- Learn to cook. Discover how to prepare food like they do in posh restaurants!
- Learn to make furniture. Build yourself a bookcase!
- Learn to sew. Buy a pattern, and make a pair of trousers!
- Learn to draw. Make sketches of your parents, or of your friends. Sketches evoke completely different memories than photographs do.