― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
I agree with White. We rise and fall on the state of our minds. This is not to say that it’s possible to learn everything. As an eight-year-old, I had a dim hope of doing that only because I had no sense of how much there was. My memory palace was situated in our elementary school library, which posed no difficulty in size or complexity. Even so, I was on the right track, if White is to be trusted.
So what’s worth learning? Languages, for certain. While I am at home in English, my French is shaky (my husband accuses me of feeling bilingual when I’ve had a glass of wine). Here is the one joke I remember in French: “Qu’est-ce que c’est un bilangue?” "Ca c’est facile! C’est quelqu’un qui parle deux langues!” “Bon. Qu’est-ce que c’est un unilangue?” “Plus facile! C’est un maudit anglais!” I intend to crown this mediocre achievement with elementary Spanish. As Jon knows, I am somewhat addicted to Spanish soap operas (thanks, Netflix). So far I can either claim to be happy, tired, hungry, thirsty or attractive or accuse you of the same. In two genders! Although none of these phrases have shown up yet, I live in hope. (And why does "yo" mean "I" rather than "you??")
It is also worth learning about our minds themselves. If I can remember, that's coming in the next post.