Never Stop Learning

In mid-June, I met a 62-year old stranger while sitting outside the Erie Island coffee shop in downtown Cleveland. He was helping the Downtown Cleveland Alliance keep the city clean, and we got to talking while sipping our small coffees.

He said something first. I don’t remember what. I replied, something banal and temporary. Something that I hoped would move us from A to Z  and send us both on our way sooner rather than later. I had two books to deal with that day, one to read and one to write, and I didn’t feel like chatting.

He kept at me, though, until after several minutes our talk wound from the weather to the restaurants surrounding us to books and then subjects unexplored but of interest. He seemed an inquisitive sort and soon made for easy conversation. The time became pleasant.

As my coffee mug lightened, he shared that he had just finished some coursework in Equinology (study of horses) at some school in Ohio whose name I since forgot.

“Why?” I asked.

And he said: “Because I grew up around horses, have been interested in them all my life, and thought it would be fun.”

“That’s great,” I told him, truly impressed by his quest for knowledge.

I lobbed him a couple of questions about the class and we ping-ponged our way through a few more minutes of dialogue before he reminded me why we should never stop learning:

“I’m 62 years old and was the oldest person in the class by several decades. But I tell you what, I’ve never felt younger.”

Amen, sir. Amen.


Nickels and Dimes is a series of short commentaries on inspiration, decision-making, relationships, and other items. I will post these thoughts every Tuesday and Thursday until I run out of new things to say.

For a daily helping of wisdom, please visit these excellent thinkers: Matt CheuvrontSam DavidsonPaul Jarvis, and Josh Linkner. Oh, and of course, Paulo Coelho.


Morning Inspiration Is For The Birds

I looked out my bedroom window this morning and saw wet, heavy snowflakes falling to greet their friends that already coated the grass, road, and sidewalk below me with a thin layer of white wetness. The wind shook the branches of the barren trees just outside my window, which I opened for a second to feel the frigid air taunting my hopes for an early spring.

Cleveland Winter

Photo from of Erik Daniel Drost on Flickr.

This is just Cleveland in March, and so the story will always go.

A touch despondent over the weather, I walked to my kitchen and began to heat water for my morning coffee. As I scooped the coarse grounds of a Guatemalan blend into my French Press, I heard a sweet sound that had been missing for many months coming from outside the first floor windows: Birds chirping.

I opened the front door and searched for these magical harbingers of better weather but found them nowhere. Their sounds, though, continued to play like a high-pitched symphony to my winter-weary ears. I inhaled the frozen morning, basking in the trump card I held over Mother Nature.

When I exhaled, I smiled. The music of the birds told me that spring and better weather were close. And that’s enough to make my day.