When you are in the language teaching business you hear a lot of reasons for why someone cannot take a language class right now. Language learning is one of those things that people understand will help them, make them a better, more complete person, help them enjoy life more, and certainly take their travel experiences to a much higher level of enjoyment. But somehow as humans we always think that now is not the best time; that things will settle down soon, life will be more under control in a few months, work is crazy but once I finish this project then I can spend some time on a self-improvement goal that I have been delaying for years. All those may be very valid points and intentions may be sincere, but the fact is that life by definition is busy, that the urgent will always find a way to crowd out the important unless we make time for the important. Language learning is important, not urgent.
So, why should you learn a language today? There are several compelling reasons to embark on learning a language as soon as you can and avoid the normal tendency to delay.
The sooner we learn the more benefit we receive – A language is a gift that lasts a lifetime, and begins the day you begin to acquire the gift. The longer we delay learning, we will have less time to enjoy the benefits of knowing another language. Simply stated, from a time investment point of view, language learning now is better than later. The Spanish you learn can help you with your business trip to South America, business in Los Angeles, or your French can help you communicate with the parents of your new French boyfriend.
If we wait until everything is perfect, we will never learn – The people that learn and grasp the growth that comes with that self-improvement are the people that realize that they can master a new skill and continue to maintain a life, a career, a family, and other outside activities. Learning a language is not all-consuming; it is more a commitment to spend a little time each day and week systematically improving your language skills. You simply need a process that gives you enough structure to keep you encouraged with your goal to learn a new language, and the language will come.
Because we can – We should not squander our potential. There really is no compelling reason why we cannot master another language. Yes, some people are more adept at learning languages, but we have all mastered at least one language (or you would not be reading this). If we can do it once we can do it again because it is in our DNA, it is empowering, gratifying, and unique to humans. We have watched thousands of people, young, old, in-between, learn a language and there is no reason why it should not include you. You can do it now!
So consider starting or restarting your language learning now. While it may be obvious, you must begin in order to finish. There are many reasons you can tell yourself that now is not the best time, but do not ignore the reasons to take action. You will never learn any younger!