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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring into Action: Challenge Yourself!

Hello, dear readers!

It's already the second Wednesday in March--we're almost one quarter of the way through this year! If you're like me, you're probably already tallying up all the "to do this year" items on your personal list that have been there since January 1. However, today an interesting article in the Toronto Star prompted me to think about just how much I HAVE accomplished--not just in the past three months, but in my life. The article, entitled "Are You a Woman over 40? Take Math," focused on the successful achievements of 40-something female math students at Ontario's community colleges. Apparently women in this group outperform students of both sexes in ANY age group in math. The reason--mastery of time-management skills, giving these women a heads-up in their ability to study purposefully. Yet only half as many women as men are studying math--in my mind, this indicates that some things haven't changed much since I left high school in 1978 to pursue a bachelor's (and, later, a master's) degree in English. I was good in math throughout high school, yet I was never encouraged to pursue a career that would put my math skills to good use.

So strange, then, that now, in 2010, I find myself, as a part-time literacy and numeracy instructor, teaching math to many of my clients, and loving it! Granted, I have had to reteach myself algebra and geometry after over 30 years of not even thinking about it, but in doing so, I have discovered why I love math so much--the beauty of formulas that always work if you apply them correctly, the symmetry of equations, the utility of geometry in our lives. I better understand why I love the forms of skyscrapers and cathedrals, and why I love to construct my own jewellery. The more I work with numbers, the better I am able to play with them as well--I am becoming a master of Sudoku and amaze myself at my ability to solve my daily fix now. I've committed to one Sudoku and one crossword every day, no matter what--and I honestly do feel sharper and readier to take on new tasks!

Other spring challenges--I've promised myself to read a minimum of one book per month (I've already read three since January and am making it through #4 at a good clip), write something every day that's not a lesson plan or client profile, and finish the two French novels I've started and put down several times (I'm in Quebec City for a week in April and have promised myself a trip to a wonderful used book store on rue St-Jean if I finish these two novels!).

Challenge YOURSELF this spring--relearn a skill, pick up a book and finish it, take a new class. Set yourself goals to recharge both your brain and spirits! You will be amazed at how much more energetic you will feel--and look!

Leave a comment and tell us what YOU are doing to challenge yourself this spring!

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