Reverb12 Day Six: What Have You Learned?

Compare the “you” from the beginning of 2012 to the “you” that you are now. What new skills or talents have you learned or discovered this year?

I suppose any given year most people could say they have learned something. I can say that I have learned over 2012. Yet what I learned was internal. Spiritual. Emotional. The truth is, looking back over 2012, I have no new skills or talents as compared to last year.

A lot of people thrive on learning a new skill almost all the time. Putting that bonus from work into lessons for something. Taking a retreat dedicated to something new. Exploring their minds. I’ve even talked to people who think life is being wasted if one isn’t learning how to do new things each week or day..

That’s a noble thought at its core. But when examined in the more practical light of the everyday I have to wonder how much of that new skill is absorbed into that person’s life. That is to say I often wonder if the people who learn new skills all the time in order to feel alive and excite their minds are able to incorporate all of what they’ve learned, even on a recreational level.

Some people can, of course, and that’s great. Others, however, I think pursue new skills just for the sake of saying they did so. They have a visceral reaction to engaging in something new. Just as extroverts, (much to my astonishment) feel more alive when having tiny, shallower conversations in loud rooms with as many people as possible, some people are energized by “dabbling”. The term jack of all trades, master of none was custom made for a lot of these folks.

I sympathize, because if I am not careful I could be one of them. My natural tendency is to explore a lot of different things. Fencing, Latin,drawing, vocal lessons. There was a time I thought about developing skills in one or more of those. But then I decided that if my theatre and writing careers were to get the attention they deserved, I’d have to cut back. So I made the conscious decision several years ago not to wade into as many pools as I had been. (Though I still want to pursue basic Latin at some point.)

Not that I am closed to the possibility of learning a new skill. I do sometimes explore such things. And the time may come where for career reasons or other such things I will need to develop a new skill. But unless it is something I feel a strong passion for, or there is some guarantee that I will be able to make use of it to improve my life as a whole, (outside of the simply act of learning), I find that my life, and my slow rate of success in same, don’t allow for me to learn new skills just for the sake of learning them. Learning something new, even when I’m interesting, has not made me a more marketable, interesting person to society.

Maybe one day.


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