A Christmas Gift to Yourself

I’m sitting around a table with other couples, all in their 30’s and 40’s.  As we talk about the different activities we’re encouraging our children to try–voice lessons, dance, musical instruments, acting–one mother suddenly announces how much she wishes she could take ballet lessons. 

“Why don’t you!?” we all exclaim just as another mother confesses her desire to learn ballet.  And then, the whole table erupts in a discussion of the classes we wish we were taking.  We go around the room and answer the question: “What class do you secretly wish you could take?” 

Painting, photography, guitar, voice, history, Spanish, piano. . . the list goes on as we share the things we still–even at our age–want to learn and do.  But is it too late?  I had just finished reading a chapter about neuroscience and the importance of novelty for brain health.  Novelty–fresh ideas, fresh experiences, fresh activities–strengthens the brain as it ages.

It’s not too late.  It’s never too late. 

We commit to it as a group, encouraging one another in our desires.  The gift we might give ourselves this Christmas for 2011 is novelty.  Then, by Christmas of next year, we’ll have another interest to pursue.

Living with flair means I give myself the gift of novelty.  Who cares if you’re the oldest ballerina in the room or if your arthritic fingers hesitate over the piano keys?   You’ll inspire the rest of us with your courage, your enthusiasm, and your flair.  Is there something you secretly wish you could learn?  I’d love to hear it! 

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  1. I took piano lessons in a group this past fall. Made it to half; got lots of theory which I didn't remember getting as a child. Always have a piano except when I sold one for a horse – he was so worth it and YES – I want to ride again…..even once a month…I know where to go, too. Good for you – will let you know about my riding…..

  2. I would love to learn to play drums. Unfortunately, I find it almost impossible to go against the typical da-DA-da-DA beat, and would therefore be hopeless. Part of trying something is knowing where at least a shred of your talent lies! I would like to take up the piano again, and I will consider that for my 2011 novelty, as it's been so many years since I touched my piano that it will feel like a new activity again.

  3. Are you willing to share what activity you're secretly wishing to take up? If not, of course that's okay!

  4. Photography and guitar for me! I would love to learn how to take beautiful pictures with a fancy camera. My blog pictures are all with a point-and-shoot camera that does all the work for you.

  5. I took violin lessons last year. However, now we can't find a teacher to teach us. But now I take viola and I like that better.
    Sooooooooooo. . . .

    What class would you like to take?
    (you don't have to say anything)

  6. Fun post and yes, why don't we give ourselves these gifts? I'd love to learn to play the drums! For some reason, the idea of all 4 of my appendages doing something different at the same time seems like the ultimate challenge. Oh and I'm with you on the photography thing too.

  7. OOOOh! Pick me! Pick me!

    I intend to learn digital SLR photography after abandoning my love of photography 25 years ago while raising children. Also on my list for 2011, going to galleries and museums again, singing again and perhaps some art classes with my adult daughter.