The end of the summer marks a time when children are preparing to go back to school where they’ll continue to learn and grow. And many of us world-weary adults envy them.
After all, as much as we may have lamented going back to school in the fall, our days there were also filled with laughter, play, curiosity, newness, and stimulation.
Being an adult doesn’t herald the end of learning and growing though. Far from it.
How to Continue to Learn and Grow As An Adult
If you’re mired in the sheer survival aspect of adulthood, it’s all too easy to put learning on the back burner. On the WAY back burner. After all, who has time to absorb themselves in learning when there’s so much to do!?
We’re not talking about the formal learning you did as a child though. There are simple ways you can keep learning and growing that don’t require a major time commitment.
1. Remain Social
As the saying goes, “You are who you surround yourself with.” Pause for a moment and consider the people you call friends. Do you share passions, interests, and intentions? Or do they ramble on endlessly about topics that don’t interest you? How much gossiping occurs among your friends?
If you spend little to no time among like-minded folks who support your desire to continue to learn and grow, your brain will start feeling like mush.
Be careful though of the tunnel vision that can come from limiting yourself ONLY to people with the same thoughts and beliefs as yours. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone every so often. By challenging yourself to listen to and consider what others with different views have to say, you’ll be giving your brain a workout.
2. Bring Back Playfulness
Children’s natural inclination toward play allows them to be open to a wide variety of situations. They go into activities with a true beginner’s mind. As adults, we’re just not as naturally inclined to be playful. But it doesn’t have to be hard.
When was the last time you spontaneously broke out into ecstatic dance, rolled down a hill, or went for a bike ride with no destination? How about picking up a box of crayons for coloring, eating a meal with your hands, or bathing in the magic of your imagination for any amount of time?
Keeping an element of play in your life ushers in a willingness to learn and, by proxy, grow. And it’s not the sort of growth that can be documented by pencil marks on a door frame.
Continuing to play into adulthood does wonders for flexible thinking, problem-solving, paying attention, and increasing working memory. All these enable us to continue to thrive in a range of personal and professional environments.
Play also maintains spatial concepts we learned as children. What’s more, physical play such as sports (pickleball, anyone?) or the aforementioned dancing or rolling continue to fine-tune motor skills and maintain muscle, tendon, and joint movement. Bonus!
3. Step Away from the Role of Know-It-All
If your identity is wrapped up in being the expert on all things, you’ve likely gotten into a rut and are unwilling to open yourself to new thoughts and ideas.
No matter how old you are, you will never know everything there is to know. Not by a long shot. So consider creating a list of things you want to learn about rather than dwelling in what (you think) you already know.
Perhaps you’ve aways been fascinated by flowers but know nothing about gardening. Or it could be that you’ve always wanted to try making paella but don’t know how. Maybe your kids asked you about something earlier and you didn’t have an answer. Each time a thought or situation like this arises, put it on your list.
Then commit to addressing just one of these issues each day. It could be something more significant like finally signing up for an online class you’ve been dreaming about taking. Maybe it’s less enterprising like growing sprouts in your kitchen. Or perhaps you simply want to learn the capital of Botswana. It’s totally up to you.
And if you’re not sure where to start, remember that libraries are an endless resource with books (recorded and otherwise), periodicals, video productions, and internet connection – all free or at a nominal fee.
Start Your Learning Journey!
By being open to the idea that there are new things to do, as well as new ways to do old things, you’ll continue to learn and grow.
Long after the marks on the door frame have faded.
And if ‘try yoga or meditation’ lands on your list, then we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to find out about our offerings for both kids and adults. The way we see it, you’re never too young or too old to practice yoga and mindfulness.