Thursday, October 6, 2011

The adult brain: Still learning

After spending a few years of my adult life in the education field (such a lame expression, by the way), there are certain buzz words in the teaching world that we banter around, for better or for worse.  A few of these phrases that came to mind this weekend were "teachable moment" and "life-long learning".
I'll start with the latter, considering that the years continue to move along and our brains, whether we like it or not, slow down a bit, not quite firing on all cylinders.  I don't put myself into the geriatric group, but I'm aware of the need to continue to learn, grow and stretch my brain and also my sense of self.  While life-long learning may include common concepts such as attending night or weekend classes, brushing up on language skills (oui, oui! which I'm not doing), reading a challenging book (that's also on my to-do list, but not currently happening),  I also like to include other aspects of life experience that don't fit into an easy adult-education-class box.  These vary from learning how to ride a bike with clipless pedals (shew - that was a long process) to adopting dogs and changing my life, to a certain degree, to accommodate them.  On occasion, I like to do a quick inventory to check on my capacity to learn or not.
Last week, I did experience a pretty major moment of insight.  After spending two different nights tossing and turning because of random work emails, I realized that when I'm angry, I tend to play super nice rather than show my claws and fangs.  Instead of responding with anger, annoyance or frustration, I tend to default to the "just be nice" mode, which, I learned in a short span of time, is NOT really effective.  Not that I'm going to become a major jerk and slam people with a scathing email, but I've now decided that I will wait until the next morning to reply to any tricky emails.  See, the teachable moment at work!
Over the weekend, the learning moments were more reminders or confirmations rather than experiences of major self-enlightenment.  We actually went out with different people on both Friday and Saturday night, perhaps a new record in my recent social life.  I can revert to my more introverted tendencies when school resumes, but this reminded me that I like people (shocker, I know!) and that it often opens up my eyes and broadens my experience to be social.  Friday night involved good Mexican food and strong drink along with said company, and on Saturday night we actually went to a music fest.  Not that I've *never* been to a music festival, but I confess that it has been a few years.  This experience was good and fun, and hit that learn-about-yourself note, or confirm-what-you-know-about-yourself note.  I felt very uncool and middle-aged.  WOW.  The uncool part I knew and I can embrace it, but the feeling middle-aged is new and not exactly fun.  However, I'm going to try to embrace that part too, since it is a sign of what is to come!  Aging, more grey hairs, creaking joints.  Okay, that's the negative - I know that there are many positives too!  Being wise, for example.
Finally, despite all of the evidence that supports the idea of learning from experience, it never ceases to surprise me that I just don't learn some things.  Or maybe it's selective memory?  At any rate, year after year, it never fails.  I survive September more or less swimmingly, and then October hits me like a ton of bricks.
So, yeah, that is where I am.  Learning, sometimes.  Not so much the other times.

1 comment:

mindful mule said...

Blogging counts as learning, too.