When you consider an activity that differentiates youth from adulthood, what comes to mind?
For many people, it’s learning.
The youth/ childhood phase of Life was spent mostly learning. We focused on gaining knowledge – reading, studying, exploring a broad spectrum of subjects, much of it for its own sake rather than practical application. Yet it was this diversity that we allowed us to develop – along with the practical subjects of science and mathematics – a general appreciation of history, geography and the arts.
The adult phase after is spent working and doing. After leaving school, we shifted our attention to work, business, dating, and family. Sure, we learnt things too, but only as a necessity, a corollary to our job, social life, and raising kids. It was not learning for the sake of knowledge.
Yet, the very pursuit of new knowledge and experience for its own sake adds novelty, fresh stimulus, and roundedness to Life, enhancing it. The journey of discovery challenges different faculties, keeping us young by keeping us curious and stimulated, instead of lapsing into boredom and ennui.
Lifelong learning, defined as the “ongoing, voluntary and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge”* is an idea worth embracing in our quest for a fuller Life.