Learning through living
It’s late. You’re up.
It’s a Sunday night and the first week of October is coming up, which means you probably already have midterms to start studying for! I certainly do. An exam, three papers, hundreds of pages of readings, hours of extracurricular commitments and social gatherings ahead of me…
It’s official. I’m on board the Struggle Bus.
But this weekend I had a great time doing things that felt more fulfilling than finishing all of my reading on time. Today, I celebrated my grandmother’s 90th birthday! NINETY. The woman was born in 1923!
She was born in Breslau, then-Germany-now-Poland, and lost her entire family by the age of 20. She knows three languages perfectly. She worked in the World Trade Center in the 1970s as one of three non-secretarial women at a multinational company. She’s been to every continent except for Antarctica. She is the pinnacle of charm.
Today, over her birthday brunch, she told me that she has recently seen “The Butler“ and ”Zero Dark Thirty”. We discussed the historical significance of each movie, along with the nuances of the films, and I realized that while I had lived through 9/11, she had been witness to Pearl Harbor Day. And Vietnam. And Watergate. She had seen the coverage of the sit-ins and Birmingham featured in “The Butler”; she didn’t have to be told the way it must be taught to our generation.
She’s an encyclopedia. She’s nearly a century of information, of history, of change. Of life. What will happen in our century? What changes will I see?
I’m going to get back to my reading of past leaders and politics and wars. I’m going to finish my papers and ace my exam. But I feel like I learned more today talking to my grandmother than I will finishing my homework tonight. I’m also really excited for my next century and what it will bring.
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