When last did you learn something about yourself that changed your life?

Learning. That word: learning. What images, thoughts or feelings does it conjure up for you, I wonder? Does it bring back memories of stuffy school classrooms, and stuffier teachers? Did you learn anything there that changed your life? I can't say that I did.

I did meet someone who determined the course of my life. An English teacher. I only had her for one year. Mrs Clarke. Conservative, large in her baby blue A-line crimpolene dresses and dark framed glasses, but accommodating of a class of misfits. And me the misfit among misfits. Academic, do-gooder, conscientious, hardworker in a class of reprobates, laggards and truants. Someone to hate. If not hate, certainly to dislike.

I cannot even remember what Mrs Clarke did to make English come alive for me. But she did. And I loved the subject. Every last Shakespearean play, every poem, every bit of creative writing or piece of work we were tasked to do.  I continued with the subject of my love to university and eventually became an English teacher myself.  So I suppose school, or at least Mrs Clarke, did teach me something.

Learning is something I love to do. It has driven me to seek variety in my working life (I only managed one year as a teacher). And kept me going back to university for more. More courses, more subjects, more books.  My children look at me aghast when I tell them that I get excited walking into a library. (Poor Mom, she really needs to get out more!)

But what have I learned lately that has changed my life? Having one's life change is a big deal. I realize that the very act of studying and learning something new changes one but I am talking about big Aha's, realizations that cause the world as we know it to split - maybe softly, maybe with the heaving mess of a violent storm, and then to reform. Forever different. Or at least until the next time.

So what have I learned lately that has changed my life? It bears some consideration. For I want to learn, I want to grow, I want to move. But am I? What have you learned lately that has changed your life? Do you dare to stop and reflect? Or will it be too painful to look in the mirror and realize that little has changed? Little has moved? Or maybe you are too afraid of not being able to recognize yourself anymore? Maybe that is a good thing. Maybe by not recognizing yourself you will pause, stand a while, and get to know yourself a little bit better.

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