Learning new things

Posted by kdow on Feb 24, 2018 1:56:17 PM

There are many things I should have done in the past. So many opportunities have been wasted during my adulthood. Everyone has those moments where they choose to not do something productive in lieu of having drinks with friends, playing an extra round of Street Fighter, or whatever.

Photo by Alessio Lin on  Unsplash

In 2017 I took it upon myself to get as healthy as I could without sabotaging a good, fun and meaningful life. Which is to say I don’t want to define my life by fitness like so many others. Good for them, it’s just not for me. I used to be pretty healthy, active and was the benefactor of all the good stuff that comes with being healthy. I’ve not been particularly unhealthy per se, but I definitely could have done with giving myself some longevity. My 20s were great fun, my 30s need to be fun too, but I can maximise that by not being shit to my own body.

And so I’ve got a pretty standard routine of going to the gym a few times a week, I walk the dog and generally try to keep on top of how I’m treating my body. I pay more attention to it when it starts to complain — your body is a pretty good judge of when it needs a break!

But that’s all routine stuff. Nailing schedules, work relating things and lifestyle/health stuff. I’m not necessarily learning new tricks deliberately (but you always learn with new things, almost through osmosis).

So 2018 is about addressing those stupid things I should have learned in the past. Like driving. I’ve driven a bunch in the past, but never gotten my license. If I was to go back to when I was 18, I would have had to get a provisional license by filling in a form, then applying to do a test. Today, it was actually a huge ordeal to get a provisional license because there’s a bunch of hoops to jump through. Then, I have to do 12 hours of assisted driving on a particular course (I’m good enough that we’re kind of ignoring that and the goal is to make me as good as possible — we even use my own car, which is very unusual for driving instructors). Once that’s done, I have to wait until my license has been in issuance for 6 months before applying to do the test, which probably takes 3 months anyway thanks to a pretty lengthy wait time.

So if I were 18 I’d have done all of the process really quickly, but now it’ll take the guts of a year. I also presume I’ll fail the test once or twice, so it may even take longer than 12 months to get this process over with.

But, I am incredibly grateful for the process. The feedback loop is persistent, and I’m learning some very useful life skills. Not just the driving part, but also taking in skills on observation, empathy with other road users and honing in on my spatial awareness (a skill I apparently am a master at, but never knew!). It’s bleeding into other things I do, particularly in work or home life.

So once I feel comfortable with this process and the iterative learning curve, I’ll learn something new again. In 2018 I definitely want to nail photography, and maybe even videography (no, I won’t do a vlog!).

My advice here is simple: set a task and go learn it. Even if it is quite uncomfortable and gets you out of your depth. You’ll learn way more than you thought you would in the process.