Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Limited Life of Learning

            I was reading an article the other day about some of the hardships in life and why they can be necessary. Now don’t get me wrong, I have heard it before…hardships and failures teach us far more than successes and victories ever will. Thinking about this, I agree with the statement. However, this article I was reading got me thinking about something else.

            As I was reading, the aphorism “learn something every day” kept coming to mind. It seems that every day of our lives we have a chance to learn something. Granted, these lessons may be vastly different in effect from day to day but something is to be taught in this life we live. For instance, just the other day I learned that although the appearance of a parking lot may look dry, it quite possibly could be covered in ice and be quite slippery—be cautious of the world around you. Then there are days like today where nothing unprecedented has occurred. Despite this, I have learned that there is this food in New Zealand similar to Ramen noodles but much better—there can be foods better than Ramen. Lessons are all around us—to varying degrees of course—we just must be willing to look for them and then accept them as something we do not already know.

            Again though, a different thought kept pushing its way into my mind. The majority of the lessons taught to us occur when we are young. Now as I say this, I want you to be aware of the context in which I say it. Young is a very subjective term. In this case, I’m declaring it the first twenty years of our life or so. During this time, we learn an incredible amount of information, data, facts, and form our opinions based upon the previously mentioned. When we are infants, we learn the fundamentals of life. As we age, we begin to learn our likes and dislikes, our friends and enemies, our morals and values, our hopes and aspirations for the future. In essence, we figure out who we hope to become and what we aspire to accomplish.

            After this period of time—youth—the aggressive learning in our lives seems to slow down quite a bit. From this point onward, we adapt as necessary but make very few fundamental changes in both our paradigm and values. We do the most learning in our younger years. There are several other aspects of life that have not yet been spoken for, however. Two of these are the fun and hardships we encounter through our time on earth. We are constantly making memories to fill the void created by those times we would rather forget. The culmination of these three areas of life—learning, fun, and hardship—ultimately help to create the core of our person. Eighty years from now, you will be able to look back on the life you have lived and probably come to the same conclusion as I…it all happened for a reason. All the lessons learned, all the hardships, trials, and tribulations faced, all the memories made have been for a reason.

            I suppose I’m saying this for a couple of reasons. Our time on earth is limited. But more importantly our time to learn—aggressively learn—is limited as well. Whatever you find yourself learning today…tomorrow…and of course the days following, fully embrace it—however unique, uninfluential, or ordinary it is. Whatever you face in life, the fun or the bleak, accept it. One day, you’ll look back and know it all happened for a reason. Ultimately, look around at the life you are living and learning from and take it all in…it’s amazing what you may learn. After all, your time to do so is running out.

Appreciatively Here,

Derek Berkshire
Indiana FFA State Sentinel

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