Today I would like to share something quite personal, but I really felt like my story could perhaps encourage you to pursue your goals and not give up. It’s not a story about my journey to learn English this time – it’s a new experience that I would like to talk about.
I have been trying to learn guitar for years, I guess since I was 17, but when I was that age I was already working and frequently finding excuses not to, saying things like, “I have no time”, “my fingers hurt”, “that’s too difficult” “if I had started learning when I was a kid I wouldn’t be struggling now”, etc. Different of everything else in my life I started and quit guitar several times and I always felt bad about it.
I am now in one of the busiest times of my life, I’m studying, working and unlike when I was 17 I’m now married. Despite all this, I decided it was time for me to be the proud owner of a guitar again. I started an online course and once a week I watch a 30 minute video in my lunch break. The other six days of the week I practice what I learnt for what feels like a very quick 15 minutes. I wish I could do it more, but it is just no possible. Despite my short 15 minute practice jam sessions, today I learnt my 3rd song on the guitar, which is very simple, nothing fancy, but it is more than I have done in my whole life.
I’m sharing this story because I want you to know that no matter how busy you are, 10 minutes of your day can change how you have felt your whole life. Learning is a difficult process for all of us, but if you commit yourself to it you will feel fulfilled. Set a time to study every day, practice with your partners or friends, but challenge yourself to go beyond. If you think your English is good enough, keep learning anyway because no matter how fluent or academic we speak we can always learn more.
Reflecting on my career, I can’t help thinking of my students and how brave, intelligent and gifted they are. When I hear them speaking in English more and more in class, getting jobs, passing tests, I feel so accomplished. That’s why I want them learning and moving forward and as Gandhi said: “live as if we were to die tomorrow. Learn as if we were to live forever”.