One of the quirks of growing up is acclimating yourself to 18 years of summer holidays and then being launched into a lifetime of monotonous routine, interrupted only by such breaks as you save up for and which vary from year to year. Solving difficult tasks is what you’re paid to do, summer becomes the thing you see from your office window, and autumn loses some of its romanticism in “end-of-the-year deadlines” . . .

Like every other bookish child, I was filled with excitement by the arrival of autumn, or fall as we call it here. It was a time for putting on sweaters and jumpers (the American dress), prying open new workbooks, and stocking my pencil case with #2 pencils and fresh pink erasers. In-between studies and music and evening activities, I was always adventuring off into books—everything from children’s mysteries to classics to random biographies. I could get lost for hours, even days, in a particular topic that grabbed me.

It is harder to recapture that feeling now, and sometimes it feels gone forever. On the plane ride previously mentioned, though, I watched part of a documentary about Mayan pyramids, from a Nat Geo series called Lost Cities with Albert Lin. I was nearly as excited about my discovery as Lin was with his: deep down, I still have that same (dormant) joy for learning about random stuff. How do I get it back completely?

When I got home, I started a new notebook. Call it a commonplace book, call it a journal . . . it really doesn’t matter. It’s just a month-by-month note of things I want to focus on and learn about.

With the end of the year approaching, my goals for September are focused more around reflection and tidying up my place. But I have a backlog of things that I am learning about and a plethora of nonfiction books to read. (More on that to come!)

Lists won’t cut it on their own, though, so I’ve taken to changing up my routine a bit. I read outdoors more often and encourage myself to watch random educational videos on YouTube. A few curated goals are well balanced by a dash of spontaneity. Wonder is something you can plan for but you can’t really plan.


What are you excited about learning these days? And if you need ideas, I’ll leave you with a clip from Lost Cities . . .

9 thoughts on “Autumn: Learning to Learn Again

  1. i left a comment under the comments section but it was not what the circuits liked, so…. a moving and ruminiscent post, bringing to mind the worlds that i once lived in: KingArthurland, Narnia and a host of others…. having finished with L’Morte d’Arthur i’m now ensconced in Wace and Layamon. probably Nennius and Marie in the near future, if past tendencies prevail…. i never got along too well with workaday life, having tried auto mechanics, music, geology and the drilling industry to mention a few…. retirement is best of all, but it goes by too quickly; it’s true that time passes more rapidly the older you get. it all seems another universe now, and autumn is massively presenting itself, lol…. i feel in memory the effort it takes to earn money, tho: often overwhelming for those of us with dream-like psyches…

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    1. Well done on finishing Le Morte! Would you recommend it? TE Lawrence toted it around with him Arabia so of course I’m curious about it. 😀 The medieval period is largely unexplored by me… I had to look up the names and now they’ll be in the back of my mind for when I tackle those works.

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      1. the writing style will not be at all familiar: it’s more like perusing a list of used cars than anything else; but it does surprise on lower levels occasionally, leading to sudden understandings of medieval psychology and what the mores of the society might been like…

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  2. I retired just as Covid hit so had LOTS of spare time on my hands. Not only did I increase my reading from around 75 books a year to just over 100 I also began exploring YouTube for interesting and informative videos. I’ve watched a great deal of quality History programs and a lot of Science stuff too. It’s a great way to increase your general knowledge and allows you to pick up subjects or delve deeper into subjects you already know all at your own pace. Education/Learning *never* ends and nor should it.

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    1. That is very inspiring to hear! 100 books is seriously impressive even for a full-time reader.
      I must admit… I tend towards doomerism in that I doubt the economy will allow me to retire by the time I’m the age for it. But if all goes well, retirement would suit me very well. 😉

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      1. I got kinda lucky with my retirement. I’d just paid off my mortgage about 4 months previously and had been saving a bit each month for a long while plus my work pension (after 32 years) was reasonable too. All together I had enough to get by especially when for most of the last 2 years I couldn’t really go anywhere expensive because of Covid. It helps that I’m a cheap date so my general expenses are pretty low. I get my state pension in about 5 years so that’ll help too.

        I used to read around 100 books a year in my teens but they were really thin SF books. I could probably push it to 120 with a bit of effort but enough to review 2 every week is fine with me. Afterall, there are video games to be played… [grin]

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