Are you one of us? The ones who devour books like anyone would devour a delicious piece of cake? You love to learn and hear stories and maybe you have books all over your home, like I do and often found, smiling as you read a book; in bed, in a chair, laying on the couch, on the floor bathing in pillows and your feet up on a chair, or sitting on the top of the stairs waiting for your turn to the bathroom.
Not only do I read books in my own language, but I have piles of English books and as I have chosen to learn Italian I am looking forward to reading Italian books as well. Because I love books and words in so many languages. Did I always have this gumption when it came to languages? No.
Giving up on learning
In my twenties I met a friend of a dear friend in a coffeshop, for the first time. For those who haven’t read my previous stories on Medium, or on my blog lifebylill, it is important to inform you that I am Norwegian, so this story to make sense. Back to the coffeeshop.
This friend was a bit nerdy, as I am and I felt a closeness to him, thinking maybe he could be a another friend? Maybe he was as weird as I am? Since he loved fantasy books and movies as well and was a bit of a trekkie (Star Trek fan for those who doesn’t desire to boldly go where no man has gone before).
After a while I noticed in me, as one does when you start to identify with someone, you also check in with the things you don’t find so appealing with yourself. The things you find wrong with you. Is he also different like me in not having ease with school?
For a while it appeared as though he did, until he told me he that just about every fantasy movie I had seen, he had read, and these were massive English fantasy books. To add to how not one of my peeps he was he told me he read these at the age of 14/15 and it gained him an advantage in English classes. He surfed through the classes and always got the best grades.
I was dumbfounded. That is so logical! Why didn’t I think of that? The feeling of irritation grew in me. About all the choices I could have made and maybe my life would have been more successful. I could have gone to the library and borrowed these books! I found myself giving up already on my life, barely out of the gate of the wonders of life, at the age of 25. Thinking it was somehow too late.
The seed of change
“That is one of the stupidest thoughts that have ever crossed my mind. Really? Giving up at twentysomething?” Ten years later, another coffeshop, and another friend, I had just had the clarity about learning and how I had chosen to stop myself, in that previous meeting.
We were talking about peoples knowledge about computers and how I loved the internet, because I just loved how I could learn just about anything, whenever I would like. As my friend was talking about how timid she was about computers, I remembered a customer I met, when I was working in sales at a mobile shop in 1997. It was this eighty-something guy, basically sixty years older than me.
He told me, as I was doing the paperwork for his new mobile phone Nokia 8810, that he had just learned how to use a computer, by himself. How he now was helping his kids (yes, I was still calling them that, even though they were now in their sixties) and friends with tech challenges. In his eighties!
At that moment a seed was planted which inspired me, a decade later to declare a basic decision in my life, which I on a regular notice declare to anyone, when we are talking about the topics of learning and living: I choose to be a 104 years old. I still have so much to learn, I choose to learn everything, just for fun.
If he could, so can I.
Acting before you know your choice
Following my decision of doing things just for fun, I started transcribing podcasts on different topics, just to get the English language in my hands and I read more books on subjects I love.
Looking back a few years later I realised in going all in to better my knowledge of English, I was building the muscles I needed to write in the language that I found most logical to write in. The stories in my head flowed so easily on to the page in English and I already excelled in the language verbally. That being said, it doesn’t mean that I am perfect in it, by no means, I am exploring the language, and others, until the day I sign off on being on this earth, hopefully at the ripe old age of 104.
I f you follow your inner drive, as I did when I just decided to say: I don’t care if it is practical or not and I don’t know why I choose to spend all this time going in depth on writing in a second language, but it feels good and it gives me joy. That is the most important part. After all, we are spending all this time on earth, why not spend it doing things you like?
Giving you the life you love
My creative spirit was set free and I was surprised to see that this was an act of me being on my own team. Building the life I love in the background of your conscious choices. For a few years now, I have been writing on several books, in different genres. I have removed the obstacles and given the writer within freedom to be who she has always been. An English writer.
In giving myself the outlet I was looking for and the permission to be the full on nerd I love to be, I was being my own very best friend in books and fantasy. In doing that I found several new friends, just as nerdy as me. When you acknowledge yourself, other people will to, for being who you choose to be.
You cannot always know why you are doing something and what it is for. If that is a demand for you, to always know what things are for and why someone are in your life, and you wonder why your life is not changing, that is why.
You have to have the faith in you, that following your joy, is you giving you the life you love.