I was an absolute nerdburger at school. So much so that I never missed a single day and got an extra special nerdburger award from the Department of Education for having 100% attendance for 13 years. Absolute nerd. But somewhere along the line, I’ve lost my love of learning. And my five-year-old niece absolutely schooled me on it.
My niece Maisy (the one who asked me to make that cursed Duck Cake for her birthday) started kindergarten this year and when I asked her recently what her favourite part of school was she wisely replied: “Just learning.” It kind of blew me away — most kids would say they love lunchtime or recess, or just playing with their mates. But for Maisy, getting up every morning and heading to school just to learn something new is a true joy. And it sent me on a journey to work out how I could rekindle my own love of learning.
Learn a language
Given we won’t be travelling overseas for a long while, learning another language is the next best thing. There are lots of mobile apps that will teach you a new language day-by-day straight to your phone, or you can sign up for in-person classes at community colleges or specialist language schools. And to help you use these new skills even at home, try putting stickers on everyday objects around the house to remind you what the Spanish/French/Korean word for fork/door/bathroom is.
Learning to play a musical instrument is both a challenge and utterly rewarding. I played the saxophone in high school, and attempted the violin at uni (the key word here is “attempted” — I completely sucked at it), but it’s been a complete loss ever since. Good news is, if you’re looking to rekindle your love of learning but have no skills in tuning an instrument (like me), there are tuner aids that can help you out and plenty of YouTube videos that will teach you how to play chords even if you can’t read music.
Pick up a new craft
I’ve long had learning to sew and mastering crochet on my to-do list, but it hasn’t happened yet. There are books to help you fulfil that love of learning from home, step-by-step. Plus craft sites like Ravelry have an enormous library of patterns to try out your new skills, and if you get stuck there are endless videos on YouTube to talk you through anything. We know that craft is practical mindfulness, so it’s a win-win.
Explore someone else’s life
Reading autobiographies is a great way to get a fresh perspective on things via someone else’s lived experience. Learn what it’s like to be President of the USA, or First Lady, what really goes on in the life of a rock star, or what it takes to climb a mountain, save a life, or make a room full of people laugh. If reading is not your passion, hit play on a documentary. Sports documentaries in particular offer incredible insight into motivation, goal-setting and leadership.
Love playing games? Well, they can also help rekindle your love of learning and build up some serious skills. Azul is one board game that’s great for pattern recognition and learning strategic planning. Dinosaur Island can help you master resource management, while Codenames is great for word association, and Trivial Pursuit is a classic for general knowledge (and may just help you win pub trivia too).
Now all that’s left is for you to go forth and learn.