(this post was started last summer when I was helping instruct at a weeklong photography conference. For some reason I didn’t have the necessary words to finish it. But I do now. I hope you enjoy)
As I’ve been helping a Photoshop instructor in Iowa this week, I was reminded of some simple life lessons by a few of the students attending. This lesson is very simple. Be a lifelong learner. Not only does learning and studying keep you looking forward to new things each day; but it has also been proven to keep your brain young and make the quality of your life better. There are so many people who have more than one interest. They might have their job/vocation, then a hobby or two that keeps them learning and looking forward to new things. Many of the people in our society today are not happy with their jobs. If they don’t have other interests or hobbies, these people are living very boring lives. Multiple interests not only keeps them busy, but it keeps them from wandering too much.
Now that’s not easy to say. I was a straight A student in school; but my mind would wander off usually because I had my homework or assignments already done. When I look back on this; it was different than wandering aimlessly. I believe as an artist (and we all have a little bit of this in us), day dreaming is part of a process. It’s a significant part because great things don’t usually just fall into ones lap. They are dreamed about, experimented with and eventually on the 3rd to 100th attempt….success!!
So back to lifelong learning. They say if you keep using your mind you stay younger; and I think we’d all like that. But how do I do that……stay in the learning mode? Not an easy one to explain. Curiosity is a big part of learning. If one is curious about something, it inspires one to find out more about it. Hence…..learning! So what are you curious about? Is it nuclear science? Is it politics? Is it simple things like gardening, cooking, sewing, painting? Maybe you’ve always been a home inventor. Finding things that don’t work in your situations and making something that does. That’s learning. It might even end up being a lucrative venture if you invent the right thing.
In todays age, there is no excuse for not learning. You’ve got everything from libraries to the internet. From group forums to actual physical clubs that get together to discuss or partake in certain arts or sciences. We are in the age of information. So what do you do now? First I suggest you take an inventory of what you like and dislike. This will help you narrow down your interests. From here you can start your exploring. If for some reason your course changes during the expedition….adjust. Maybe you’ll find a new love to try. In fact, that’s part of the learning process. Rivers change course over centuries of running. Roads don’t all lead to the same place. You may stumble on a micro part of your major love; and find a whole new area to study. In photography; there’s general and there’s specialized. One photographer I know of takes close up photos of snowflakes. He’s had to modify, adapt and invent new equipment just to get these photos. But he’s learned an awful lot from both the process and the final results.
So what is it going to be…..boring…….or filled with enthusiasm for all the possibilities? You make the choice and I hope it’s for LIFELONG learning!!