Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Learning Curve

Think back.  Is there something you do well now that you thought you'd never get the hang of?  Or maybe something you're doing now that you never imagined you would ever do?

My sister, Lisa, (she's getting way too much exposure on this blog lately) is involved in a new business venture called "It Works."  She was talking to someone the other day about how things are going for her and said, "If you had told me last year that I'd be doing this, I would have said you were crazy."

My other sister, Stacey, became a master gardener a few years ago.  She's also recently taken up quilting.  Never saw that coming.

I'm doing things on the computer that amaze me.  I remember when we got our 'puter and someone in the work room at school was talking about bookmarking a site.  I didn't have a clue what that meant.  When I'd call for tech support and the geek on the other end of the line asked me about my browser, I felt like he was speaking a foreign language.

And speaking of computers - my mom is Skyping and sending emails like a pro and she became interested in her 80s.

When I got into bead making almost 15 years ago I'll never forget trying to get up the nerve to approach a gallery to see if they'd like to sell my jewelry.  My best friend, Sue, told me, "Ellen, you have to be able to take a hit."  It was difficult but I learned how to walk in cold and present my beads and, yes, I took some hits but they made me stronger.

I think the key to "learning" is to ask people that already know how to do whatever it is you're trying to learn for help.  Be open and listen.  It doesn't mean you have to follow every single piece of advice.  Gather info and find your own way.

I learned some great techniques in bead making from a kid. 

I learned a lot about singing from many people along the way.

I learned to never trust the blinker of an on-coming car from my dad.  "That dumb ass has probably had it on for the last 3 miles.  Wait until you see him slow down and begin his turn before you pull out."  Words that have stayed with me all these years.

I've learned how to be a good "ear" for grieving people from my friends at Wings of Hope Hospice.

I continue to learn about Sign Language interpreting even though I've been at it for many, many years.  There were times I wanted to throw in the towel but there always seems to be that one person at every workshop I go to that adds a new perspective to the profession that keeps me going.

I, never in my wildest dreams, thought I would stand on a stage with a mic in my hand and sing a solo.  I was encouraged by friends to do so - in particular Fred Gibson and Dean Michaels - and will be eternally grateful for the push.  It's a thrill like no other.

So - here we are.  It's your turn now.  Is there something that you've learned how to do that has surprised even you?  A talent that was once buried deep inside and is now out in the open?  Something that you're enjoying the hell out of that you never dreamed you could do?

Come on, folks.  Let hear it.


  1. Leslye Wilson BursonJuly 8, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    Administering anesthesia .... I was 46 years old, hadn't worked in years & decided I wanted a CAREER, not just a job !!! Applied to school, got accepted ... packed up a U-Haul & drove it over 1,000 miles with my car on a trailer behind (THAT was a hurdle in itself !!!) . PETRIFIED at the time to hold someone's life in my hands .... but Wa-La ..... it is my career and I CAN DO !!!!!

    1. Les - you have no idea how many times I have used your life change as an example.
      I've always admired your guts - I'm proud of you, roomie.

  2. I decided that when I retired I needed to find my creative side - I knew it had to be there - after all, I'm related to Mom, you and Lisa. So, gardening - and I continue to love it. But, an additional challenge was needed to keep the brain cells growing - so, quilting. It requires preciseness beyond my usual "good enough", problem solving and allows so much creativity - and I get to give people home-made presenta that are acutally useful!

  3. When I got my college degree at age 54 I learned that life is about learning. I try to tackle something new almost every day, even if it's only a new computer skill. Recently I've been trying to master doing Sudoku puzzles(hard for an ADD-er like myself). And, even though I hate it, I'm learning new stuff about accounting (yes - zzzzzzzzz....) because I volunteered to be treasurer of something. My singing solo days are long past, but I agree - there's no thrill like it!