Students are returning to college and K-12 schools, and homeschoolers are beginning their curriculum studies. The fresh smell of back to school sweetens the early fall air. September starts the traditional academic year for students as families adjust to the school schedule after one last taste of summer vacation on Labor Day. Whether you are a student going back to school or an adult looking to expand your skills and experience, lifelong learning is a wonderful way to pursue knowledge and personal development. September is a great month to begin a learning adventure in the spirit of back to school.
Lifelong learning is a self-motivated pursuit of knowledge, whether for personal or professional reasons, that is passionate and on-going. Learning is not confined to the classroom or our first 18 years. We can learn new things through our voluntary investigation in a field of interest and everyday life experiences. We think, therefore we can learn at every age. Our brains LOVE to LEARN. The brain develops relative to our commitment to lifelong learning. It is important to learn new things everyday. We all learn differently and there are various types of learning. We learn by rote, memorizing and repeating information; or experientially, basically learning by doing. Other types include kinesthetic, absorbing information by touch, visual, absorbing information by sight, and auditory, absorbing information by sound. Studies of education across the lifespan describe the wellness benefits and how it is linked to quality of life and longevity. It gives us intellectual connectedness in a cultural and social context. Learning is one of the best ways to enhance our health and well-being, and it feels good to learn because it releases the neurotransmitter dopamine which is associated with pleasure, reward seeking behavior, and creative process. Learning is natural high.
Embark on a learning adventure. Enroll in school, take an on-line course, register for a workshop, take local continuing education classes, or teach yourself a new skill…or few new tricks. Learning is like play, it can be fun and challenging, and ultimately we need to practice what we know to be and become ourselves at our best. Learning involves thinking, the primal process for every human perception and action. The moving mind motivates life and inspires our expression and purpose. Our remarkable human capacity for original thought nurtures conscious and unconscious awareness, and is one of the greatest adventures we can take in our lifetime.
Take some wellness time to think and learn. In closing I share this quote from Dr. Oliver Sacks, the brilliant neurologist and writer who passed away last week. He was a polymath and a great thinker who pursued understanding the physiology of the human brain and the philosophical essence of consciousness. He studied and wrote prolifically throughout his lifetime. An op-ed piece he wrote for the New York Times in February announced his cancer and that he was nearing the end of his life. He ended the article with this wisdom. “Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure”.