I have often heard the idiom “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” In fact, an older person I talked to recently actually used that idiom to complain that he was too old to learn some of the new things in this world.
I countered, of course, that he wasn’t old. After all, I have had two granduncles live past one hundred years. I have had other family members who were well in their nineties. I have family members in the nineties now. This acquaintance is not even eighty yet.
But it got me thinking.
Why do certain people shut their minds off to learning as they get older? Why do people get set in their ways?
I know it’s not ALL older people. I know of ninety-year-olds who learn of new things every day and I know some youngsters so set in their ways that they close their mind off to anything and everything.
But then again, learning is something some just seem to shut their minds to. It takes work to learn new things. It can be hard to try to do something different. Some people just don’t have the willpower to do that.
My pop, who lived to be eighty-eight years of age, encouraged me to try to learn something new every day. And while for awhile, I did not do so, I actively try to find something new to wonder about these days. More often than not, it has something to do with writing, whether it be a subject that captivates me enough to write about it, a new vocab word, or an old idea that I need to play with.
Learning is magical, if one thinks about it. The more one learns, the more one is challenged by new concepts that can then be accepted into that learning. Every time I learn something new, I challenge something I already learned. As a result, I feel like I am constantly growing and changing, hopefully for the better. I build upon the knowledge I have acquired, hoping to build it better and better. I hope I never stop learning.
It’s why wisdom is so prominent in my Portals Series. The Bearer of Spirit, Melisandra, is the creator of intellect and wisdom and spirit. She gifts all in the realms her magic, including common-born, non-magical beings. Some are gifted more intellect than others. Those who wield the magic of wisdom can cast spells of healing, of knowledge, and sometimes even of retribution. But her magic is not weak. Some may argue it is the most important of the four classes of magic, but those who hold its power and truly believe in it answer that all the magics weave together, making a tapestry of richness that would be lost if one was indeed better than the other.
Don’t have any clue what I just wrote? Then perhaps you should be reading my stories. (*wink* Somewhat shameless plug *wink*)
I firmly believe NO ONE is ever too old to learn anything, but it also takes practice that doesn’t come easy if one has not honed it. After all, the brain IS an organ and must be exercised to stay sharp. It can be easy to fall into a pattern of not wanting to learn. But anyone can fall into that kind of thinking, not just an older person.
But to stay magical, to write our stories, means to keep the wonder alive. We can’t do that if we aren’t constantly trying to actively learn new things. We can’t do that if we’re making excuses for old habits and behaviors. And we can’t do that if we don’t try to change.
So whether it is a new word, a different take on an old idea, or even a different approach to normal everyday activities, I challenge you to find something new to learn. You may amaze yourself in what you can do.
No matter if you are ten years old, fifty years old, or even one hundred years old….. I hope you realize that you are never too old to keep on learning.
If you liked this blog post and wanted to see some of the fantasy works I have written, check out my Portals Series.
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And as always, #writeyourownstory