Lifelong Learning: Create Your Own Curriculum


No matter how long ago your last school day was, September brings with it a sense of new beginnings, time for fresh notebooks and new shoes.

As students, our teachers led us through a curriculum of learning. One day we explored Egypt or weather systems and the next, the life cycle of a tree frog or how to conjugate verbs. Now we’re in Life University and are free to design our own program.

What do you want to learn next?

Pick Your Courses.

Whether you’re feeling called by felt or feathers, by improv or encaustics, by baking or birds, explore it. Don’t worry about why you’re drawn to drumming, Italian or gardening. Don’t worry about where you’re going with it. Just begin. These tidbits of inspiration are the way our muse lets herself be known. She sparks our interest and waits to see whether we follow the light. This is one time where it’s wise to bite the hook!

Don’t Worry About Getting It Right.

In life there isn’t one right answer. If you decide to focus on butterflies, precious stones or collage, on quilting, tap dancing or Spain, no red marker is coming down to give your choice an X or a checkmark (unless you decide to) so stop stressing about getting it right. Whether you focus on short stories or novels, whether you learn French or Mandarin, whether you knit or crochet, whatever you start learning will immediately be more positive and productive than staying stuck in trying to make the right choice.

Get Out Your Kaleidoscope.

Once you’ve decided on something to explore, pull out your kaleidoscope. Look at it from all sorts of angles. If you’re drawn to trees, see how many ways you can explore them. Take a picture of as many trees as you can. Take a picture of the same tree at different times of day. Sketch a tree. Plant a tree. Hug a tree. Learn 52 varieties of trees and recite their names like poetry. Write a tree-inspired haiku. Write a story about a sapling. Read the mythology of trees. Wear a tree necklace. Make a tree necklace. Take on the posture of the next tree you see. Dance like a tree in the wind. What can you learn, create and share inspired by trees?

Give Yourself a Gold Star.

And when you feel you’re complete (you’ve written your story, shared your photos, planted a seed, whatever), give yourself a gold star for being a student of trees. Celebrate all that you’ve learned, shared, created, wondered and experienced.

And then pick your topic for next term.

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