Why I love learning

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A picture of some books to illustrate why I love learning

I love learning new things. I always have done, and I hope I always will. This thirst for knowledge was instilled in me from a young age by my parents, who always wanted me to do well in life and have the opportunities they never did. Saturday mornings as a child were spent in my Mum and Dad's bed, learning Capital Cities, inventors and ways to remember the Five Great Lakes (H.O.M.E.S - easy!) Lazy Sunday afternoons were spent having family quizzes to see how much information we'd retained from the morning before, and every evening I was given a word of the day from the dictionary to use in a sentence.
I was fascinated with these words and went through endless stacks of books, taking it all in, using vocabulary well beyond my age. By age 8 I was done with every book in the reading corner and had moved on to my Mum's Virginia Andrews and Catherine Cookson collections. I would read them as I walked home from school, while I was in the bath, when I was supposed to be sleeping- every spare minute I had, I was reading. I wrote poems and short stories, and when I was 11 I had a poem published by Walkers Crisps ;)
When I was 12 I came second in cringeworthy TV show 'Britain's Brainiest Kids'- are you getting a picture of how geeky I was as a kid? In the end I shot myself in the foot with my own cockiness- I was clever and I knew it, and made the fatal mistake of picking 'Literature' as my final round when I had the first choice and could have picked Pot Luck. Big mistake. I swear I could have taken that trophy home if I'd not been such an arrogant idiot. Still haunts me to this day, not that I'm bitter or anything.

Although I've lost a lot of the intelligence I used to have, the yearn to learn (smooth) is still there. I like to know why, and how, and never accept anything at face value. I believe learning is an amazing thing, and often need to remind myself not to get too caught up in routine that I can't spare a minute to learn something new. The brain is just incredible, and the fact that there is so much information out there that I am so clueless about, so much knowledge that my brain is waiting to drink up and is capable of holding just astounds me. Apparently we only use a tiny percentage of our true brain potential so it's mind boggling to think what could really be achieved if we train our brain to expand, and to use more of itself. The opportunity to learn is endless. Even if I learned a new fact every day for the rest of my life, I still wouldn't make a dent in all the things there are to learn in the world. And that is why I love learning.

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Desiderata- Max Ehrmann

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A picture of Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
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Desiderata is one of my favourite poems. It's more like a piece of life advice than a poem, but it's beautiful none the less. I thought I'd post it as it's been a long and tiring week so far for me, and hopefully this can inspire you if you've had a bad week so far too!
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The lost art of letter writing

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The lost art of letter writing
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I love hand written letters. (See previous post about hand written postcards here.) I love sitting down with a notebook and a pen, and just writing without a plan or a structure; writing whatever comes into my head. There's something so personal about writing and receiving a handwritten letter- it's nice to think that someone sat down and took the time to tell you about what's been happening in their lives recently. Facebook, Twitter and Email are great for keeping in touch with friends and family, but to me it's just not the same.
I've always loved letter writing- as a kid I wrote letters to anybody and everybody! Friends who had moved away, penpals, love letters, my sister, even my diary was a series of letters (I was very inspired by Anne Frank's diary!) As I grew into a teenager I started writing letters to people that I had no intention of sending, as a way of dealing with my feelings and to help get things off my chest. I used to love 'telling' people what I really thought of them and then either ripping it up or burning it (I was very emo as a teenager- I loved to write by candlelight whilst listening to Ani DiFranco and having a sneaky cigarette out of my bedroom window- I was desperate to be 'beat generation'.)

Anyway, as a lover of English in general I've always found it much more natural for me to put things into written words rather than to speak them out loud. Thankfully, since I've moved out of my Parents and became my own person I've changed, but I never used to be able to speak about feelings and emotions very well and bottled a lot of it up; so letter writing has always been a kind of sanctuary, a safe haven for me.

This Mother's Day I didn't have a lot of money to buy my Mum a nice present like she deserves, so I decided to write her a long heartfelt letter- my Mum is just like me and doesn't talk about feelings, but I'm determined to make her see the light and tell me she loves me all the time :p

In my letter I wrote about everything that I was thankful to her for, everything about my past that I regretted, and apologised for being a selfish and horrible tearaway teen. I told her all the reasons why I love her and all the things I've realised she sacrificed for me as a child. It's funny how you never realise what your parents do for you as kid, until you're an adult.
It was a very easy letter for me to write, although I cried the whole way through it. I think it's the best letter I've even written.
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