Things I Have Learned #1

I’ve always loved learning. I get really annoyed with myself if I watch something or read something and don’t know about it – I have to go and find out more. I think my freelance work could sometimes be done a lot quicker if I didn’t get trapped down rabbit holes reading about something, and then something else, and before I know it, I’ve spent an hour reading about The Great Wall of China when all I needed to do was write 750 words about packing for a trip to China (that may have happened to me last week – did you know that glutinous rice flour was used in making the binding material to bind the bricks? No, nor did I.)

I love learning about anything or everything, and I’m always encouraging the boys to do the same. If they ask me a question and I don’t know the answer, we find out together. When our car broke down and it turned out to be the timing belt, I got Graham to sit with me and explain how a timing belt works, and then I went online to try and understand it further. I still don’t truly understand it, but I know more than I did before, and that’s the main thing, eh?

This series is a kind of holding me accountable type thing. I have vowed that every single day this year, I will go to bed knowing about something or understanding something that I didn’t when I woke up. I probably do that most days anyway, thanks to my line of work, but this is a record of it. I had planned on doing this series from about halfway through last year, but never quite got round to it, but 2020 seems the perfect chance to start. I was intending to do it in a sort of ‘7 facts I’ve learned this week’ type format, and while sometimes it may be like that, sometimes, like this week, it isn’t facts that I’ve learned, but a concept, or a theory, or about an event, so it will take the form of, well, whatever I have learned that week.

Photo by Madara Parma on Unsplash
Photo by Madara Parma on Unsplash

What have I learned this week?

Just before Christmas, I discovered a series on Netflix featuring Morgan Freeman, called The Story of God, and I got totally sucked in. It’s only two short seasons, but I absolutely loved it. It’s basically about exploring religions from across the world and the thoughts around concepts such as the afterlife, creation etc. Now, I could watch Morgan Freeman recite the alphabet and I would love it, but he was particularly enchanting – he makes an excellent presenter! I went to bed each night after watching it understanding a little bit more about Christianity, Islam, Buddhism etc. For example, I always thought how beautiful Islamic writing is, but I didn’t know just how important calligraphy is to Islam. I also learned lots about very small religions.

I think I’m quite open to new ideas and thoughts, but this really made me think about lots of things. I was gutted when I finished that series – until I stumbled across another one with Morgan Freeman in – The Story of Us. This is very similar but explores concepts of humanity, such as love, freedom, war and rebellion. I learned lots about events that I have heard of but never really knew much about – the Rwandan Genocide, for example, and the story behind Pussy Riot (a Russian feminist punk band who campaign for huge changes in society!).

I didn’t learn facts as such, just big concepts and ideas, and about major events that my school history lessons never touched on. I think that’s a pretty good start to 2020!

Let me know in the comments something new that you have learned this week.

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