I started a list.
In church we have been studying the book of Leviticus, and discussing the sacrificial system in the Old Testament. I admit I was not initially thrilled by this choice, but I have been learning every week from the conversations around our Table.
For some reason, I put the word mordicus on my list; this is a French adverb meaning "with an opinionated firmness." I'm sure I learned other words this month, but that is the only one I carefully wrote down under the heading "What I Learned in January."
I learned about Oprah Winfrey and her TV career this month by listening to the interesting podcast series "Making Oprah."
I learned that in this season of my life, it works better for me to exercise first thing in the morning, right after I wake up. I had been working out right after getting home in the afternoon, but that hasn't been happening for a while (I'm embarrassed to say how long). This month my workout calendar filled up, and there are many more days I did exercise than days I didn't. I will never be an athlete, but this is progress. I feel so much better when I'm exercising regularly; I know this, and yet I fall off my routine again and again. This new routine has worked well in another way, too; I have been listening to uplifting podcasts instead of what I was doing before, which involved a fair amount of brooding over the world and its current condition, and all the things I can find to be sad about.
I learned what the President of the United States allegedly thinks of this country, Haiti, where I have lived for more than twenty years, where my children were born. Worse, I learned that many Americans agree with the words, whether he actually said them or not.
An eighth grader's quiz, where she announces her intention to interview the President of Haiti about what the President of the United States allegedly said.
After that my list ends. That's not because I didn't learn anything else, but because I did, and because I started to get discouraged that I need to keep learning the same lessons again and again. In January, I learned how clumsy I can be about people and relationships. I learned that emotionally I am a little too much like my thirteen and fourteen year old students and not enough like the staid, sensible middle-aged woman with everything figured out that I am supposed to be. I learned that people leave, and it hurts. It just hurts to love people, period.
I already knew all these things.
Other people post helpful advice, apps that will organize your life, wise thoughts. Maybe in February I can learn some of that. We'll see.