It is third week in January and time to look at the New Year’s resolutions and assess where you stand. You have either given them up 20 minutes into the New Year or you are still hard at work and making a good progress. My New Year’s resolutions this year ended up unveiling themselves through an early morning slumber dream.
As I was waking up one day over Christmas vacation, a small voice inside whispered: “Learn a new skill.” I didn’t give it much thought at first but as we geared toward 2016 and setting new goals and resolutions I remembered that little voice and thought that learning a new skill in 2016 would be a great idea.
Our holidays were a mix of good food, restful time, local travel and meeting family and friends. Somewhere in between that a few electronic devices had to be taken away from my kids who spent too much time playing games and watching Netflix. As a result we had some great times bonding, playing board games, doing a 1000 piece puzzle and going on long walks. And so it went, when my 12 year old who is currently obsessed with K-Pop and fast approaching teenage years, came and asked me to learn Korean I could not refuse. There I had a chance to learn a new language and also keep my daughter close to me for a little while longer.
Learning a new language, especially at my age and not from a familiar group of Slavic and Latin languages is not a joke. Although I am multi lingual, this new adventure has challenged me to the core. At moments, I feel like giving up and fear that my brain has become too rusty. I’ve found that lodging new words in my brain takes far more repetition than I expected. Other times, I am grateful for my partner and for the short periods of time she wants to spend with me.
At times, I have to remind myself that I didn’t learn my mother tongue in a few days, months, or even years. As somebody recently said, ‘Learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint.’ I am beginning to realize that if I wear myself out in the beginning, it will become a passing whim rather than part of my daily routine. And as with any resolutions, if I have unreasonable expectations, I’ll set myself up for disappointment. This new adventure is teaching me to set goals that are challenging but realistic, and to reassess them often.
So, what is the new skill you are going to learn this year? You know what they say, ‘You rest, you rust.’ Your new skill might be training to run half a marathon or taking Total Yoga teacher training. It might be learning to cook new healthy dishes or learn how to surf. Whatever it is be patient with yourself but work hard, don’t give up because it might be painful at times but in the long run you’ll be glad you stuck it out.
Slavica Gokul is a certified Vinyasa, Hatha and Power yoga teacher through Total Yoga in Bangalore, India. She has been an aspiring yogi for more than 20 years. She dedicated herself to consistent practice 9 years ago and while residing in India from 2012-14 underwent teacher training.