Leaving the house earlier in the week I found myself oddly nervous and delightfully excited as I trotted off to my first day at school. Yes, back to school after all these years.
Will I be using my new found knowledge about the poet Dylan Thomas to help me engage with my clients? Verily, tis a wee chance of thou ear ever hearest the most dearest of my odes. Will I be covering the walls of my waiting room with examples from my drawing class at the Art Institute? More likely on a place mat at Denny’s!
Why then commit a solid half-day to a class room and with homework to boot?
I’m learning about poetry and art not to abet a career but for the fun of it! And I recommend it highly. Particularly if you are feeling that life is a treadmill of “same old, same old.”
Taking a class can be an opportunity to discover talents, passions, curiosities you may not have known you had. The classes also open the door to becoming socially engaged, helping to resist loneliness and isolation. There is no need to match courses to college requirements; you choose the subjects that interest you, reinventing yourself in an atmosphere that is informal and supportive.
Plus, I’m committed to exercising my brain beyond the familiar patterns because I believe it is crucial for my health. Challenging the brain is a prompt for it to grow new cells, particularly important for improving our problem-solving abilities as well as memory. The more the brain is used, the better the brain grows.
As a therapist (and someone who has been in therapy), I know the value of exploring my emotional landscapes. Learning in any setting expands our sense of self and literally changes our brain.
For me, there is an emotional side as well. “What do you need it for?” was a parental rebuke I often heard as a child if I wanted to do something simply for the fun of it, like buy records or learn tennis. As I look back at my parents’ lives from the vantage point of a mother and grandmother seventy-plus and counting, I can understand that as children of the depression anything that did not add material value to life made no sense. But it took a toll and perhaps I am making up for what I missed in my childhood.
Be it as it may, in attempting to draw portraits and struggling to understand the poetry of Dylan Thomas, I really am having fun. The frontiers are different, but exploring new parts of me is as exciting as traveling to new countries and no passport is required.
While I cannot assist you as an artist or poet, I can certainly be there as your guide to find new ways of looking at the world.