Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Learning New "Stuff"

Have you noticed that the older, (or more experienced with life) you get, the more you realize how much "stuff" you don't know? OK, maybe it really is just me. Anyway, everyday some new bit of information or some evidence of a non-existent skill, or some problem without obvious solution seems to find its way into my little world and these glimpses of reality just hint at the volumes of "stuff" I just don't know. For me, this missing information or missing skills etc makes me want to learn more. When it's information or facts or trends or...knowledge-based "stuff," I tend to turn to the Internet first. Have you ever really given any thought to the wonderful tool this marvel of (Al Gore's???..just kidding) technology the Internet really is? WOW! As Haime often asks...who puts all that "stuff" on there? (I just love Haime's naivete and his "no computer 'stuff' for me" mentality).

When it comes to skill-based "stuff" however, I have to say that my saving grace is that I am not afraid to fail. (In fact, I have failed at so many new skills that it has almost become habit to try and fail). The thing is, I've finally figured out that failure is not a bad thing. You see, another thing I've noticed about getting older is that in addition to allowing my curiosity to seek information and to continue to fill the voids in my knowledge banks, I have also learned that I have to give myself a break. I've learned that rather than feeling like I am the failure, it is actually that my first or second or third or tenth attempt at something is actually the failure. Even then, I've finally learned that as long as I keep those attempts coming and continually make adjustments, then the attempts are not failures either. True failure, I'm beginning to realize, is the "failure" to make attempts.

HOLY CRAP! am I a philosophical genius or what!!!

Recently, I looked over the list of things I wanted to do when I retired. Its amazing to me how many things I've added to the list compared with the numbers of things I've actually crossed off. The list is a pretty good mix of "chores" and "fun." Another thing I've realized as I've aged is that learning new things is not the chore it so often was in my youth; now, learning new ideas, concepts, and skills and debating theories and forming hypotheses is fun and exciting "stuff". For Haime, the best new learning "stuff" deals with astronomy and theories dealing with origins of the universe, planet formation, the existence of black holes etc...(serious yawn for me). The magic for us, though, is when we can combine his interests in "stuff" with something else that I am interested in and either combine our searches or find ways for us each to do our individual searches separately-together. (Would I make an awesome marriage counselor or what?!)

For my birthday this year, Chip and Mallory gave me a gift certificate to "Painting with a Twist." I first learned about this place when I was visiting my cousin Jill. She had gone to PWAT with some school friends (she's a teacher), and I was intrigued with the painting she had done. I told Mallory about it and commented that it sounded like fun. I learned later that Mallory had purchased my certificate just prior to my finding out about this! So, our schedules finally gelled and Chip, Mallory, Haime and I all went to PWAT. The photo below is of all of us with our masterpieces. You'll notice that we chose to paint "Starry Night over the Alamo." Clearly an example of combining Haime's interest in space-related "stuff" and one of the things from my "stuff to do when I retire" list--learn to paint.

 Can I find the long way around to make a comment/statement/tell a story or WHAT!



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