Saturday, November 05, 2005

Remember this:

We were going to write a blog about something else, but we forgot what we wanted to say. Sound familiar? In 1996 we learned the Italian word for seagull while on vacation on an island near Sicily, and in that instant we let go of calculus.

Billy Collins, America’s Poet Laureate in 2001, writes about it eloquently:But it’s not all about what gets lost by the roadside, is it? If our brain is a hard-drive, and its disk space is limited, then something is pushing these things out.

When we’re twenty, we’re all about ourselves. We’re about our careers. We’re about “me, me, me” and “my, my, my.” Granted, some people never grow out of this—sometimes, alas, entire societies don't grow out of it—but the idea is this: When you grow up—not old, but up—you gather another kind of information. About love, compassion. About raising children (your own and other people’s). About caring for the elderly. About keeping it all together, all the time. These aren’t skills you are born with. They are human behaviors that are learned over time. They don’t come with degrees, textbooks, or salaries attached. But they do comprise valuable learning, and they are richly rewarded.

This stuff, then, that takes over our gray matter (and the pink matter of our hearts) is well worth a few lost state capitals. You may not remember that love poem you once committed to memory, but at least now you understand a lot more about love.

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