One New Thing

6 Jan

Learning is a constant process, but it’s one of those mundane activities that kind of flies under the radar. We all do it, every day. However, the mundane processes of how we learn rarely make it to the level of conscious thought. I know that I learn at least one new thing a day, and I’ve decided that this year I’m going to pay attention to what I’m learning, and where I’m learning it. I’m going to write it all down and bring it to the forefront of my conscious mind.

So far, it’s the how that’s been the most interesting. My sources of learning are far more varied than I imagined and not necessarily the sources I would have expected. Sometimes I learn about arrowheads from a Hadzabe man in a remote area of Tanzania. But most of the time, learning happens much closer to home. This week, truly new information and experience has come from social networks, cookbooks, leisure reading, friends – not the academic journals and news sources that I automatically associate with this thing we call “learning.” Granted, sometimes what I think I’ve learned will need to be verified through other sources before I can confirm it as fact. But to me, that doesn’t matter. Whether or not what I’ve learned in a day is “true” is less interesting than the fact that I’ve been intrigued by something, enticed to explore it further. That’s my criteria.

So what have I learned so far this year? How did I learn it? Let’s see…

January 1, 2012

In Spain, it’s tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve – one with each chime.  – My friend Ana, from her Facebook post

January 2, 2012

The prophet Mohammed inhaled eternal life through the fragrance of an angel-sent apple just before he died. – Kelly Hayes Raitt, Tower of Babel, in Rita Golden Gelman’s Female Nomad and Friends

January 3, 2012

The deadline to pay estimated 2011 taxes is not December 31, but January 15. This year, it is January 17. – Email from California Franchise Tax Board

January 4, 2012

Calves are born back-end first, so their head doesn’t smack into the ground. – My friend Ron, personal experience

January 5, 2012

I learned how to make an awesome vegan cauliflower mash using vanilla soy milk. – Recipe in Jillian Michaels’ Making the Cut

What will I learn next week? What have you learned today? Share it!

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