Learning New Things Helps Your Mind – It’s True!

You always hear that there are certain things that help you to stay sharp, and keep your brain healthy. One of those things is learning new tasks, using your mind in new ways. Well, I recently took the opportunity to put this conventional wisdom to the test.

I thought I would try something that I had never done, something completely out of my comfort zone. So, I learned to sew. You see, I have never even taken a Home Economics class. I did not own any needles and thread other than the vanity kit from hotels (I had 3!). My mother-in-law was in town and she is an avid, lifelong quilter. She kept telling me how relaxing and enjoyable quilting was and that I would create something every day. We had gone to a few quilt shows and the artistry and community spirit of the quilters amazed me. Who knew that fabric was so cool? And that quilters were so amazing?

I decided to jump in. We worked together over a few weeks. First, my mother-in-law helped me to get all of my supplies and carefully explained how to use each item. Then (the fun part) I got to pick out fabric that was pre-cut, so I could focus on the actual sewing and matching rather than cutting. Believe it or not, within 3 weeks my quilt top was done! It was gorgeous and I was so proud. Then, a few weeks later – a friend announced she was having a baby, and there was project number 2! I was on a roll. I had the fabric purchasing and choosing down pat. How exciting!

The next part of quilting that fascinated me was the camaraderie of the quilters. It was like you went into an instant community of people of all ages, all interests, and all levels of skill. So, I joined the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild and signed up to attend a day-long workshop. I had never done anything like this, and being a newbie I was a bit freaked out.

Well, I had an absolute ast. I met other quilters who had all types of skills. They were so helpful to me and teaching me their tips and techniques. I had a truly relaxing and rewarding day as I started a new project that inspired me. The fact that I am learning something new, experiencing a new part of the world that I knew nothing about, and have met a new community of people to share that experience with is so inspiring. It is an exciting time for me and I would encourage you all to pick something new and give it a whirl. It works!

How about Scrabble? There is a Scrabble Meet Up Group right in our backyard, at Dolce Casa Café on Damen that meets every Sunday! Or how about heading over to Open Swim at Welles Park and taking a swim class?

There is so much cool stuff happening in our neighborhood, so much to try – the possibilities are endless. Have fun and let me know what you get yourself into! And if you want to start a sewing group – I would love to meet with you! Happy adventures and keep learning!



Forward Chicago, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, envisions our neighborhoods as model communities for people of all ages, where residents can age in place while remaining active, engaged and influential.