Living Out Loud 25: Always Learning


This month's Living Out Loud question:

Tell us something you've always wanted to learn. If you could go back to school, money and time not-withstanding, what would you choose? Is there something you'd love to master but haven't figured out the logistics of who will show you? Do you think you'll make time to learn these things soon or is it something you're saving for "when you retire"?

I don't know why, but I had a hard time coming up with a response to this question. I guess it's because I feel like there were no less than 100,000 things I could have chosen? There are many, many things I'd like to learn, were time and money not deciding factors.

I've always wanted to be "expert" at something. To have some thing, no matter how small or arbitrary, about which I know more than anybody else. To be the top of some tiny field. I think this is a fairly common desire, but very few of us actually achieve it. There's always somebody ahead of you. In all honesty, this desire to be the expert of experts on some tiny subject is one of the reasons I've always wanted to get a Ph.D. Arcane though the subject matter may be, a Ph.D. dissertation is a claim to the ultimate expert knowledge in whatever its topic. Writing a book would serve a similar purpose, I guess.

I wonder, though, if that desire is really about mastery as much as about recognition. Do I really want to be an expert, or do I want to be regarded as one?

Anyway, returning to the original question--were time and money not an object, here is a very partial lists of things I'd like to learn:

-flying an airplane
-animal grooming
-any second (and third, and so on) language
-successfully opening and operating a business
-cutting hair
-perfect waterline eyeliner application
-recognizing valuable objects in thrift stores
-playing the guitar (or better yet, the banjo)
-tending roses

In reality, I don't see myself learning any of those things anytime soon. They are just not my priorities. Most of them would likely frustrate me in that special way things that don't come naturally have always frustrated me. In the spirit of positivity, though, I'm going to end this post with a list of things I *can* do--maybe if one of them is on someone else's list, I can be a better teacher than I am a student?

I can:
-drive a manual transmission
-make a fantastic pie crust
-sniff out the useful, if not the valuable, in a thrift store
-type over 80 wpm
-cut 100, or 1,000, or 10,000, words out of a document
-cry on command
-touch my nose with my tongue

Any takers?


Crying on command would be an incredibly useful skill...

Do I really want to be an expert, or do I want to be regarded as one?

That's a very good point! When I think about it, I wonder if it's the knowledge itself I prize, or sharing it? (In those rare times when I have something to teach.)

Being able to drive manual is really, really useful, and something I never got the hang of!

I love that you ended it on a positive note with what you can do. I wish I had thought to "make a list". It would have been too long though! stopping by from Living Out Loud.

I cry way too easily, but I can't cry on demand...that's a powerful piece of artillery there! Great lists.

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