21. Never Stop Learning
For many of us, we went to school to learn since we were toddlers all the way up to our early adulthood. That’s a lot of school! And some go beyond by pursuing higher education. After I graduated college, I told myself that was it – it’s a wrap! I went on to get that “grown up job”. For awhile, all I did was worked hard and played even harder. But as I continued to grow older and after several career changes, I noticed that we never really stop learning. Formal education may have ended after high school or college, but the learning continues – whether it’s wanting to learn a new language to travel more, being informed about foreign policy, getting healthier, or cultivating self-improvement. Learning should be and is a lifelong process. Whether or not we realize it, we are lifelong students. We may not be studying grammar or arithmetic, but I’ve found it beneficial to be conscious about constantly learning – about the news, culture, our family, friends, and most importantly, I think, ourselves. In my mid twenties, I finally realized the importance of being teachable (even though I wanted to appear to know everything already, which was totally untrue!); and being teachable means being completely open to learning new things, new perspectives, new routes. Sometimes I hear this when it comes to learning: “I’m too old for that.” You know that’s an excuse right? Truth is we’re never too old. You’re never too old. I’m never too old. Never too old to learn a new language, never too old to kick a bad habit, never too old to learn how to be kinder and more loving. So be aware of this: never stop learning! You want to learn how to play guitar at 30? Why not? You want to study foreign policy – read up! You want to learn how to speak Italian? Take a class! You want to change? You can! Never stop learning. Your life will be richer when you are consciously opening up your mind. This mentality has certainly enriched my life, especially in the last year. This mentality has also helped me achieve my dream of living in Japan at my age when society says I should be married with kids and have a house by now – which I do want someday – but for now, I want to live this dream. And I am because I want to continue growing; to continue growing means to continue learning. I’ve certainly learned so much these last six months being here (holy cow has it been six months already?! Time flies!) – cooking, more Japanese, theology, and most importantly – myself.