(Sorry for the short disappearance, friends. I started to feel sick late last week, which evolved into a pretty nasty stomach bug that hit over the weekend. After spending all day yesterday alternating between the bed and the couch and trying to rehydrate, I’m feeling a bit better today and trying to get back into the swing of things. My brain might not be working too well, but at least I can sit upright for a few minutes at time!)
I’m beginning the final month of my mini happiness project now. I’ve been torn in choosing between two focus areas: working/professionalism and learning/education. I’d love to devote a full month to both of those, but with Bing-Bong due in about four weeks (after which free time and mental energy will entirely elude me), I’ve got to choose just one. So this month I’m focusing on learning and education.
As I’ve written before, one of Gretchen Rubin’s “Eight Splendid Truths” about happiness states: “To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.” I know that I feel purpose, integrity, and joy when I am learning something new, even if that something new is not very interesting at all. (For example, I worked as a database manager for a time, something that was entirely new and foreign to me. My boss, who had more faith in me than I had in myself, asked me to build a particular case-workflow system, which would send alerts to particular staff members after certain triggers, and the project terrified me. I found an online tutorial, and over the course of several days, successfully built exactly what he wanted. I was so proud of having accomplished something that I’d thought had been impossible—and something that I actually didn’t have much interest in.)
It’s also fantastic, of course, to learn about something that you are interested in. I love learning languages, and when I was taking free Swedish classes at the local adult education center, I was so happy. Not only was I getting getting out of the house and meeting other immigrants twice a week, but my brain was going happily crazy in finally sorting out and making sense of the words and conversations around me. I bought some exercise books and regularly wrote out verb charts. I found it thrilling to be actively engaged in learning something new.
This month, there are a couple things in particular I want to focus on learning. I need to get a handle Photoshop to create some graphics for this blog—and learning Photoshop almost seems like a necessary skill today; I’ve always wanted to paint with watercolors but I have almost zero artistic aptitude and even less knowledge; and I want to get back to studying Swedish. (If it weren’t over-ambitious, I’d also focus on studying the piano, and maybe even learning to code.) Lucky for me, there are so many fantastic places online to take classes and pick up new skills (I’ll talk about more of them in a future post).
I don’t know how long I’ll have to work on these projects: Bing-Bong could come any time! But I look forward to exercising my brain and picking up some new skills this month.
What have you enjoyed learning as an adult? Do you prefer to go to in-person classes or learn at home? Do you have any books or websites to recommend for adult learning?
Photo by me.