Someone asked me during our (ridiculously fun) live Facebook chat the other day about my 2014 goals . I laughed, because I’ve barely thought about 2014 goals, to be honest. What with book release on its way followed by travels for the next few months, I almost feel like a regular, good old-fashioned regular life won’t greet me until about April.
So because those Facebook chats move so quickly, I tapped out the short, easy answer of, “I don’t know, but I’m thinking about it.” Then later, as I was heading off to bed, I realized—I totally have goals this year. They’re just sorta clamoring around in my head, and I need to get them on paper.
I recently read Leadership Education, which encourages parents to inspire children on their educational journey by continually moving forward on their own educational path. To be a lifelong learner, in other words—especially right in front of your own children, who learn best through modeling.
I nearly highlighted entire chapters of that book, parts of it resonated with me so deeply, but the stuff I loved most was this significance of being a lifelong learner. When I focus on my own education, and not just my kids’, I’m inviting them along for the ride when they see me in continual pursuit of knowledge.
I knew this already, I did. I’ve written posts about it. There’s stuff about it in my book. Lifelong learning—big fan. But for some reason, it was this book read over the holidays that kicked my tail into high gear.
And so, yes, Virginia, I have 2014 goals. And here they are, all in the name of lifelong learning.
1. Read more classics.
For someone with a degree in English, I admittedly have a sad lack of classics under my belt. And so? I’m going to finally tackle some, with a goal to make a habit out of including them in my usual repertoire. With tons available for free on my Kindle, I have no excuse.
2. Learn French.
Last summer I watched this TED talk and immediately fell in love with the app and website Duolingo. It’s how my daughter is teaching herself Spanish, and while I did the first two lessons in French, I haven’t made more time to pursue it. This year, it’s my goal to get through the first level of French.
3. Flex my math muscles.
I’ve been woefully aware of my unimpressive math skills (and accompanying attitude about the subject), and I’d like to get better. I’ll join my kids in watching some Khan Academy, I’ve had the book Math For Grownups for quite awhile so I’ll finally crack it open, and I want to work on my times tables several times a week (really). I love Wraps-Ups for my kids, so I might as well use them, too.
4. Be back to running three miles at a time. And get stronger.
I tore my ACL almost a year ago (February 9, 2013, to be exact), and it was followed by surgery a month later, three months of physical therapy, and avid warnings to be reeeeeeally careful for the next year. And no yoga or skiing for two years.
But I’m ready to get back to running. I miss it. So I’m starting back at it, slowly and surely. I want to teach my body that it can run again, even after a knee injury (really slowly and safely, of course). And in general, I’d like to get stronger over the nine months in particular, as we prep for our family’s Big Trip. We’ll be doing lots of backpack carrying and walking out there in the wide world.
(Lifelong learning? You bet. I’m teaching my body to listen to my brain.)
5. Have a massive yard/Craigslist/whatever sale.
You’d be mistaken if you thought writing weekly for six years about living simply means having absolutely no clutter buildup whatsoever. One look in our garage, and you’d know it’s not true. So later this spring, I plan to purge, purge, purge once more, and haul a good chunk of stuff away via yard sale (or Craigslist, or wherever).
We’re pretty decent at not amassing too much stuff, but that doesn’t keep us completely immune from it. This, too, falls in my “lifelong learning” category because I’m genuinely more at ease, I sleep better, and I’m less prone to depression when my home has less stuff within its walls—these are all conduits to my being more alert, better able to learn, and escaping survival mode.
So yep—these are my personal learning goals for 2014. I’ve also got a ridiculously long reading list as well, so we’ll see how I tackle that, but that’s an ongoing, never-ending deal with my life. I’ll add them to the reading list if I can recommend them (I’ve got quite a few from last year to add, too).
In the meantime, I’ll be that lady in her late thirties practicing her times tables at the stoplights.
How about you—what are you eager to learn this year? Or maybe you can admit to a classic you haven’t yet read. C’mon—you know of a few.