Oh how America celebrates the finality of formal education. Alice Cooper blew the idea up in the ‘70s with “School’s Out.” In the ‘80s, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club took cinemas by storm. The 1993 film Dazed and Confused turned education into a drug-induced nightmare, while the 1995 film Billy Madison made it a joke. Even the modern, critically-acclaimed television show Breaking Bad (amazing, by the way) held at its core the theme of finding excitement outside of the authoritarian structure of school.
The problem, though, is that a secondary effect of this trend is the total disregard of adult learning. After years in a system bent on bending children to its will, adults celebrate the freedom of turning their attention toward making money, raising kids, forming relationships – things that enrich emotionally yet not always intellectually.
But news flash: the mind needs to keep learning. Case in point, the Alzheimer’s Association claims that “keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality,” and “higher levels of education appear to be somewhat protective against Alzheimer’s.” And that’s just one of the long-term benefits of learning new things. There’s also the short-term effects of feeling accomplished, energized, purposeful, excited and a whole list of other heart-warming adjectives.
Now, with the passing of 2013 into the annals of history, life rests upon a fresh start. A clean slate. An opportunity to hit a theoretical reset button and break free from this culture’s incessant love affair with escaping from school, from learning, from finding excitement in new information.
And the following list is the perfect start. From learning how to bust out funky riffs on a guitar to finally figuring out the benefits of social media for business, there are countless classes littered across the East Bay. All you have to do is sign up for one.
So, what are you waiting for?