Every day presents opportunities for learning something new and relearning something old. The other day, after a power outage, I learned how to restart the on-demand water heater. It’s been there for ten years, but I’ve never been the one to deal with it. I didn’t even know where it was.
Before that, I had to learn how to operate the new gas fireplace insert. I followed the instructions to the letter and still couldn’t get the fan to work properly. I called, and the service person assumed the problem was me. Patiently, he doled out instructions like you would to either a very young child or an addled adult. Again, I followed instructions, but to no avail. My confidence in learning was on the brink of being shattered. Finally, the company sent someone to troubleshoot. It was only then that a young repair man assured me it was a defective part—not me. Whew!
Earlier this year, to develop the Don’t Stop Now website and blog, I learned more about WordPress than I ever had before. It didn’t take long to realize that the only way to become a WordPress master is to do it every day. Mastering software, learning another language, or becoming competent in any new craft or skill takes time. Learning something new, particularly when it’s fairly complicated, can be frustrating and discouraging. It’s easy to give up or conclude that you’re too old to learn.
Maybe relearning is an option some of us should consider.
I studied Spanish in college, and when I went to Spain in the early seventies, I was fluent enough to talk to local students and even get invited to a few parties. Now, my ability to speak Spanish is embarrassing. If I wanted to become fluent again, it wouldn’t take me long to re-ignite my skills because the neural pathways are already developed. It’s common knowledge that relearning is easier and faster than new learning.
I would love to relearn Spanish, but right now, I have a different priority. With all the recent snow that’s been falling in the Sierra, I’d love to relearn how to ski. For a variety of reasons, I stopped skiing about ten years ago. The cost of lift tickets was ridiculously expensive. My equipment was old and needed to be replaced—another big expense. I developed arthritis in my left thumb and couldn’t comfortably hold a pole. My kids were old enough to drive themselves.
To say I’m rusty is an understatement, but I want to give it a try. Boreal Mountain Resort, which is only an hour from where I live, offers reasonable prices on lift tickets—especially for seniors. I used to be able to get down just about any slope. I wasn’t always graceful, but I always had fun. At this point, I think I’d better take a lesson.
For the record, I am open to learning new things, but relearning how to ski might just be at the top of my learning list.