My daddy loved to learn. He thrived at school and at college. As a small boy, he taught himself to make model aeroplanes. When in the RAF, he took up fencing, horse riding, sailing and ballroom dancing, as well as doing the day job.
When he got married and had a family, he learned how to do DIY, service his own car, grow fruit and veg, and do dressmaking. When computers first became available, he had one of the earliest models and even taught himself how to programme it as well as use it.
And in his later years, he decided to train as a reiki master, and researched not just that, but also nutrition, meditation and Wiccan.
The result, besides being multi-talented and able to turn his hand to anything, was that in his 90’s, he was still as bright as a button, with all his mental faculties. Even 2 days before he died, he was still giving me instructions on what to do with his things, and explaining how to make the perfect gin and tonic!
He was a great role model for the benefits of keeping the mind active and exercising its plasticity.
And it meant that he would constantly surprise me. He was set in his ways as far as habits were concerned and liked his routines, but mentally he expanded his horizons. For example, when Brexit came along, my dad – a conservative all his life – extolled the benefits of being in the EU, with more cogent reasons than any politician. I also got a full lecture on herbal supplements and their uses when I kept getting colds!
Staying active mentally, being curious about other possible points of view or approaches, exploring anything that interests you – these all give us not just knowledge, but also a level of wisdom, and enable us to be truly alive.
So let’s keep learning..
Dedicated to my beloved daddy, who died on 10th November 2019 of just old age,