About 5 months ago, I wrote the following for Coastal Comments:

All too often your day-to-day routine becomes just that, a routine. You wake up in the morning, go to work, wait for the weekend so you can finally have a little time to relax, only to do it all again the next week. We get bogged down with deadlines and projects and errands and, well, life, to the point that when you finally take a moment to look up it’s December and exactly where did the year go? I am not one to tout spiritual awakenings—whether they be learning more about your personal energy via Chakras, transcending the Buddhist concept of I, or achieving the Hindu goal of Moksha—but they often have something in common: a sense of reflection. From learning more about yourself to attempting to realize your place in the world, no matter what belief system you follow, those concepts make sense. It’s all about trying to evolve as a human being.

I am a firm believer in the concept of learning something new every day. I am a constant student. A student of books, technology, life, everything—and if you’ve ever taken my Krav Maga class you would know this as each class I ask my students to tell me what they learned that day—so I am always searching for the next piece of information that will make my life better (or, at the very least, teach me something interesting).

Now, I don’t mind repeating myself here since I know for a fact that I could count the readers of Coastal Comments on one hand even if I had lost a few playing five finger fillet (and I’m betting none of you even realized that I quoted the above in my first blog post here, either). But I also don’t mind this bout of déjà vu because the above statement is still true. It was true when I was a child, complaining in my kindergarten class that my sister was assigned homework and how come I couldn’t get homework? It was true when I was a teenager, designing my own curriculum with multiple high school teachers since I had already taught myself what they were about to teach me and if I had already read those books couldn’t I just pick out my own books to read and report on those instead? It was true in my 20’s when I stayed in community college well past my limit because after I mastered Public Speaking then I really needed to learn more about Life Drawing and you never know when Geology could help you succeed in life and Cultural Anthropology is absolutely necessary for advancing in social situations… You get the gist.

The point is this: I really am a constant student. That wasn’t a convenient topic to write about when I had to get a blog post finished by the end of the day, that was truth. And it was a truth that weighed heavy on my mind for a few months afterward.

Because sometimes, when I get so bogged down with deadlines and projects and errands and life—sound familiar?—I feel like I’m not learning enough. Yes, I pick up tidbits here and there; in fact, just this morning I learned that the only two things that can break up scar tissue within the human body are light waves—laser treatment—or sound waves—ultrasound treatment. (Seeing as how I am currently going through physical therapy to correct a Krav injury I sustained about two years ago, this knowledge was apt.) I am always learning small things, everyone is if they simply take a moment to listen, but it’s not enough.

I thrived in school, where you had a minimum of seven different subjects to study each week inspiring hours of research and assignments, but once learning was no longer built into my schedule… It started to fall behind. Reading for pleasure was replaced with project deadlines. Online tutorials were taken over by meetings. Free time was filled in by the weight of being an adult, and what little I had left was immediately claimed by sleep. It really is amazing how much time being a responsible adult truly takes, between working full-time and running a household and trying to, I don’t know, not die. I was so focused on being successful, doing a good job, and paying all of my bills on time that I forgot to feed the part of me that was begging for nourishment.

A brain that is not challenged is nothing more than a clever AI program. Feed it a problem and it spits out a solution. No creativity. No inspiration. No soul. Sure, I was reading at least one book every few months. Yes, I was teaching myself new shortcut keys for my Adobe programs. Of course I was engaging in stimulating conversation and stretching my vocabulary along with my opinions. I wasn’t stagnant, but I was no longer the roaring rapids that I knew I could be. That I wanted to be.

When a beautiful mind begins to feel stupid, you know something needs to change.

And that’s exactly what happened. I felt slow and forgetful. I was losing my motivation at a startling pace at the ripe “old” age of 29. I was tired and my brain was dormant and that is very, very sad. But—as my family will happily tell you—I am incredibly stubborn. I picked at this problem in my brain for a long time, wondering what I could do to solve it. Should I get another degree? If I was going to I should definitely do it before I have kids, so now would be a good time. But Otis almost killed me last time, and that was only two years, and I really love my job at the Chamber so… That’s out. Should I start taking online classes? Sure, but that would dwindle both my cashflow and available free time. And what if I wanted to switch topics midway? I do tend to get distracted easily, even when learning, which is why having a full class load always worked in my favor. If I was only focusing on one class at a time… Nah. That’s not it.

Okay, let’s think about this again. What do I want to do? I want to learn. What do I want to learn? Anything interesting, but it gets double points if it is something that can help me succeed in life, personally/professionally. Who is going to teach me? I am, of course. So what is it time for?

It’s time to Learn Me Something New.

#LearnMeSomethingNew is the monthly endeavor of a constant student. Once a month, Kirby will teach herself a new skill or subject and document the process to teach you, the reader, something new.

Tune in next month for Learn Me Something New: Class 1.

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