Learning for the Sake of Learning

Sometimes I realize how much I miss learning for the sake of learning.
Not for my career, for a class or for professional development but for the sake of learning something interesting. When was the last time you studied and truly learned something because you loved the topic? Okay, I keep on studying French, but my motivation is to speak and communicate when I am in France not just because I love studying the language.  
I read lots of professional books to keep up on subjects, and I love to read novels, but studying and learning something I'm interested in for the sake of learning about it is truly something that stays on the back burner.
This came to light today as I watched my 11 year old daughter receive two Silver Awards for National Exams in Mythology. That means she scored between 95-98% on the exams. This was voluntary and all of her doing. She adores mythology and has for 5 good years since we lived in France and she walked through old Roman ruins and vacationed in Greece. Her identification of every Greek God and the stories she can tell make my head spin. Am I bragging, of course, but more importantly I am thrilled she has found something she loves to study, read, and talk about just because she loves it! Sure it might serve her well at some obscure time when she can spew out the mythoglogy of the word "skein" and "knitting" (yes she can tell you this story about the three fates and how they wove the tapestry of life together), but mostly I love the idea she just loves learning.

So here she is 11 years old, 6th grade and winning two Silver Awards for two National Mythology exams because she loves it.  

The National Mythology Exam is administered in February of each year by the American Classical League to over 10,000 students at over 300 schools across the United States. Competition for the awards is fierce: awards are only won by those who score in the top 10% of all exams taken. The second exam is the Medusa Mythology National Exam administered similarly with cash prizes for the top winners. 

For me I am thrilled that she is learning the love of learning and is willing to go the extra mile and test her knowledge. I am enamored at her interest in reading the the most finite detail about the Roman and Greek Gods  and that she is even more inspired to continue to acquire more knowledge and go for the Gold next year.
Mostly though I realize how lucky she is to have the time and interest to read, study, discuss, and test herself on subjects that just give her pleasure. 

Another form of joie de vivre in action.
As for me, I'm going to have to think some more about what I want to learn about just for the sake of learning -- just for the joy of it!