I’ve been on a language studying kick for a few years now.
It started out as something pretty modest. The habit has grown a bit now, to a point where I’m juggling a handful of different languages that are of interest to me, but my progress is still pretty slow.
I was thinking the other day about how different my languages would be in an alternate timeline where I didn’t start developing this habit, one where “that’s too slow” was a good reason to wait for an opportunity when I could learn more quickly.
Many of the languages I’m studying now I wouldn’t know at all, in that alternate timeline. I’d have no German, no Russian, no Arabic, no Italian, and basically no Mandarin.
And the other languages I’m studying would be embarrassingly bad, as they were a few years ago. I would have a little Greek, a little Latin, a little Hebrew, and a whatever smattering of French I possess just by dint of being a Canadian. But I probably could read hardly a sentence in any of those languages.
If I compare my German as it is now to my German as it could have been if I’d spent an hour a day on it for the last three years, then my German will look pretty sad.
If I compare it, though, to what it actually would have been by now if I hadn’t started studying when I did (it would have been nothing), then my German as it exists now will feel like a miracle.
Habits are amazing. Start slow, start now, and watch the years transform you.