Every Day, Something New
When I was still working full-time as a massage therapist, one of my clients was an elderly woman whom I enjoyed immensely. Though she had some physical issues, Alice was vital and interesting and I looked forward to my time with her. One day when she arrived for her appointment, she was visibly stressed. It was late in the afternoon and she explained that she had yet to learn something new that day. I imagine I looked puzzled — and she went on to explain that her sixty-something son had challenged her to learn something each day. He lived in another town, about three hours away — and he called her every evening at dinnertime, to ask her what different thing she had added to her knowledge base that day. Reading the newspaper was something she did anyway so her son put that in a separate category, and didn’t count it as part of her requirement. The assignment could be a new word, the Latin name of a flower or plant, a historic event, a factoid about a city, anything at all — as long as it wasn’t something that was previously in her knowledge bank. She normally did her “homework” in the mornings and hadn’t managed to make time to accomplish the goal on that particular day and she didn’t want to disappoint her son. I don’t remember ever finding out if she went home and looked online or hauled out an encyclopedia that day or not — I bet she did — but I think it’s a pretty awesome idea, to make sure to learn something new every day.