EDITORIAL: We look back to look forward

Past experiences help us plan for future learning opportunities

One of the ways learning takes place is when we look at what has happened and attempt to do things better or differently.

As we move into 2016, many people in Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Metchosin and Highlands will contemplate how the past year has gone and how, or whether, they’d like to make changes to help better their lives.

We see mayors commit to learning and growing virtually every year, a commitment that comes through in their annual addresses to their communities. Most such statements combine reflections upon the past year and a look ahead to the new one.

No matter who we are or what experiences we’ve had at work, school, in retirement, as a stay-at-home caregiver, or maybe when we’re between careers, we have many opportunities to learn and  change throughout the year. It often boils down to making a decision, seizing the moment and committing to taking on something new.

For some people, learning takes place by training their bodies to get used to more frequent activity. That can be as simple as choosing to go for a walk each morning.

Those looking for more of a fitness-based activity may begin attending yoga, water fitness or dance classes, or buy a new pair of joggers to use out on the road. Anyone who has tried to get to the gym in January will notice a spike in attendance, boosted by people either trying to lose pounds gained over the holidays or simply start a new routine.

Others commit to learning new things from an academic standpoint, by reading more, taking courses and broadening their scope of knowledge of the general, the specific, or both.

For some, change can mean deciding to get out and support local sports teams, volunteer with a community group or join an interest-based club.

There’s no shortage of options when we decide to do something different. West Shore Parks and Recreation, for example, has numerous programs in which residents can partake, from skills-based learning to a wide variety of physical and social activities. And the multitude of community groups, service clubs and other collectives frequently welcome new members.

Of course, one need not join a group to learn something new. But experiencing personal growth alongside people with similar interests can really enhance one’s understanding and add to our treasure trove of life knowledge.