Learning [Saturday, May. 02, 2009, 4:22 pm]
There's a Five Iron Frenzy song that begins with the lines:
When I was young, the smallest trick of light,
That's often how I feel when I look back on childhood. Everything was so much more noticeable...the smallest achievements seemed more monumental...and the ceiling of possibility was lower, making even greater achievements seem more reachable.
I've never been quick to fall asleep at night. My mind keeps going and takes a while to wind down, and apparently that was the case even as a youngster. I remember lying awake at night, finding things to keep me occupied. I would sing through my entire repertoire of songs learned from church, family, movies, and tapes. Until eventually, I was asked to tone it down a bit (which must have made a huge impact, considering how often I'm asked that now ;-)
After that, I took to simply counting as high as I possibly could before I fell asleep. There were no sheep involved - it was a simple test of knowledge, and also a challenge to reach a higher number than before. I have no idea now how I remembered where I'd left off the previous night, but somehow, over the course of several nights, I reached a number that I knew existed, yet had never before been officially counted to by me. I was quite excited, and shared my accomplishment with my dad the next day. From what I recall, the exchange went something like this:
Me: Hey dad, guess what number I counted to last night?
He, being an engineer, proceeded to explain to me that that's exactly what one thousand is, and therefore the two are one and the same, with one thousand being the preferred term.
Keep in mind, I was about 6 years old, but somehow that's stuck with me as a type of "Eureka" moment in my childhood, and mirrored many other times when something ended up being other than what I thought it was.
It reminds me how happy I can be even now to just go along with what I think I know, and never seek to discover that perhaps things are different... or perhaps there's a greater understanding that I may be missing out on just because I haven't learned enough to know better.
Never stop learning... never accept that you've reached a limit and don't need to teach yourself new things anymore... don't let anyone set that ceiling any lower than it should be for you. Hopefully I'll be able to look back at more such instances and be glad I took the step to learn something new...
Vitality - Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009