The joy of learning

In the foreground a large book is open, in the background someone is holding a mug and the book is placed on their legs. they have a white, fluffy blanket over their legs and the book is placed on top. They are holding one of the pages, as if about to turn the page.

In the second season of Grounded with Louise Theroux, he talks to FKA twigs. The episode is a must listen for her experience with racist bully’s and being in an abusive relationship. But it’s when she talks about learning that you hear loosen up. She talks how about how humbling it’s been to start learning to play the piano; how learning keeps her grounded and motivated.

Nothing is more impressive than watching her video for Cellophane where she is effortlessly pole dancing in the highest, chunkiest heels I have ever seen. It’s made even more impressive when you find out she only started to learn to pole dance 6 months prior to the video learning how to pole dance. If you’re thinking it’s just the cinematography/camera angle, watch her performance on Jimmy Fallon and then try saying it’s not impressive.

Whilst I am not saying that we should all become like twigs – for one thing most of us don’t have the facilities or financial means available to learn in this way – I use twigs as an example because of her enthusiasm to learn, grow and develop.

Swotting up after school

Leaving the constraints of the education system is when you learn that learning is not linear. It wasn’t until I left school that I actually started to enjoy learning, because I was suddenly afforded more choice in what I could learn and how I learned. In the past year I have learnt how to make my own clothes, sewing techniques needed for sewing with felt, assembled flat pack furniture by myself for the first time and learnt how to win at Scrabble.

There’s the everyday tasks like cooking from a new recipe where you don’t even notice you are learning. And then the times where you really have to put time aside to get to grips with investing in stock and shares.

It’s never too late to learn

I’ve seen this play out in real life so many times, with friends parents changing careers in their 40s or learning a new skill in their free time. Most recently it’s been my Dad who has rediscovered a passion for learning. Since retiring, in the last 6 months, he has learnt to draw, run 5k, started outdoor swimming and received training to administer Covid vaccinations. It’s been really inspiring to watch him find a new lease of life.

Learning on the job

In the past I have always struggled with work that doesn’t mentally challenge me, so I feel very fortunate to be in a job that constantly has me wracking my brain to solve problems – I am affectionately named ‘Queen of Processes’. I understand the humbling effects of learning that twigs raved about, whilst I undertake running the charities first ever thank-a-thon and my first time being project manager.

Learning doesn’t just stop

When it comes to yoga, I will always be learning. I have been doing yoga since I was 19 but that does not mean that I know absolutely everything there is to know about it. And, it’s not just learning new positions or flow sequences. Most recently I’ve started doing 30 days of yoga with Adriene. On reflection I realise that the 30 day yoga journey is helping me learn to be more patient with myself; learn how to take things at my own pace; learning to be consistent but also learning not to beat myself up if don’t make it to the matt every day.

You can teach an old dog new tricks

A couple of years a go I re-learnt how to swim. I received lessons to help improve my technique for an open water event I was taking part in and realised the way I had originally been taught was completely wrong. Prior to this I would have said that I was a pretty sufficient swimmer; although I didn’t have the speed, I thought I had the technique down. It became a process of re-learning so that I could eventually swim in a straight line. It took me months to train my mind to automatically use the new technique and not revert to the one that was ingrained into my brain.

Learning may not always be fun but helps us develop and grow. What do you love about learning? Is there anything you’ve loved learning in the last year?

4 Comments

  1. I agree that you’re never too old to learn something new, and we will forever be learning until our last breath. However, I absolutely hate learning in a box! So all that mambo jumbo we learned in school can stay there, I’ve been enjoying learning more creative things, exploring my body, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

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