This daily fortune appeared on my computer years ago, and I still laugh when I think of it. Now I’ve mostly given up on the idea of making mistakes. Instead I’m making messes — on paper, using watercolors, oil pastels, colored pens and pencils, etc. I’m going through the Klutz watercolor book and am just playing around and seeing what works and doesn’t work for me.
At the moment my reaction is usually “that doesn’t work” rather than “I like it”, but my guess is latent learning is going on and the ratio with improve with time. Even if it doesn’t Montana reminds me that some things are worth doing just for the joy of it:
What about you? Are you doing anything for the sheer joy of it?
Entries Tagged 'Lifelong Learning' ↓
Age is no better … qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost. One may almost doubt if the wisest man has learned anything of absolute value by living.
—Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau had a much grimmer view of age than I did when I was younger/than I do now. I’ve never wished that I could go back in time. Getting older is scary at times, and I might wish that parts of my body worked better and that it wouldn’t continue to age, but I think I’ve profited more than I’ve lost. I value the experiences I’ve had and the things I’ve learned — I wouldn’t be willing to give them up if I had a choice of being younger again. My guess is a lot of people interested in lifelong learning feel the same way. What do you think?
Do I think that I’ve learned anything of “absolute value”? That I’ve gained some sort of wisdom? No, I’ll agree with Thoreau on that. I’ve figured out what works for me at this point in time and am too busy enjoying it while it lasts. Just because it works for me doesn’t mean it would work for someone else — we’re all different and have to figure it out for ourselves. Also the term “wise” is way too stuffy for me — it’s too serious. I prefer a lighter approach to life. Brian Crane, creator of Pickles, is more my kind of guy:
What about you? Would you go back in time if you could? Do you feel you have wisdom to dispense to younger people?
Recently at Transforming Stress we talked about the coming proliferation of drones, and it reminded me of the Thoreau quote, “Thank God men cannot as yet fly and lay waste the sky as well as the earth!” A lot has changed since his day. I decided to start rereading Walden.
Basically Thoreau’s two years, two months and two days living at Walden Pond were an experiment. He thought most men lead lives of meaningless drudgery—”quiet desperation”—and he wanted to show that if they if they didn’t buy into the American ideal of materialism they would have more choices. And, of course, the time at Walden was a spiritual retreat for Thoreau. He didn’t want to live like that forever, he left because “it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and I could not spare any more time for that one.”
He was able to do the experiment only because of the support of his mother and friends–especially Emerson who let him build the cabin and live on his land. Not everyone would have that option. And nowadays he couldn’t have legally built the cabin without going through multiple hoops to get the building permits. But today we have other options–there are gazillions of books with ideas about how change our lives. The very fact that so many people buy them means millions of people don’t feel trapped.
I certainly made good use of books like that when I was younger and working on creating a fulfilling life for myself. What about you?
I’ve been playing with a lot of drawing/painting/photo apps on my iPad. My favorite is Art Studio because it lets me do a lot of the things that I can do in Photoshop, and it lets me export my work as a Photoshop file. That means I can do my initial drawing directly on my iPad instead of needing to use a mouse or graphics table on my computer. It’s a lot easier. Art Studio isn’t quite as good for detailed coloring so I just e-mail my work to myself and open it in Photoshop on the Mac for the final details. Art Studio cost me only $4.99 and I’m impressed!
So I was surprised at first that one reviewer gave the app a score of only 80%. One of the major objections was it has too many features and it slows productivity to have to look for them. If someone just wants to paint and has no need for the advanced features then the reviewer is correct. It makes sense to use the simplest program/app that gets the job done.
On the other hand Art Studio is a blessing for people like me who love Photoshop. The interface is different but the tools are there and it doesn’t take much practice to start using them automatically.
Are you in the process of learning new skills? Do you have another form of lifelong learning? Do you have an absorbing hobby that enriches your life?
January 27th, 2013 — Lifelong Learning
Andy had no trouble going up to the attic Thursday morning, but when he tried it that afternoon the stairs were completely stuck. They wouldn’t budge. His first reaction was he would have to cut a hole in the ceiling!
But then he thought about the air vents, and he took off the cover of the one in the living room and made a 9 1/2″ by 19 1/2″ hole in the vent itself.
He managed to squeeze through and fix the problem. He didn’t take a picture of it, but the cable had jumped off the pulley and wrapped around the axle.
Apparently he had pushed the stairs up too fast and the released tension on the cable as well as the fact the pulley hadn’t been installed straight caused the problem. In the future he will try to keep a steady pressure on the cable and hopefully that will be enough.
They say people who are slightly overweight tend to live longer, but sometimes there’s an advantage to being scrawny! (His term, not mine.)
The other surprise was it rained yesterday–just a drizzle but rain at over 8800 feet in January?
Any surprises where you are?
In June, 2010 I wrote
Years ago “I’ve been agin’ ‘em all” was my husband’s and my favorite joke. The world has probably deteriorated even more since then, but at the moment I’m having too good a time to worry about it.
At the time I was talking about my Kindle, which is a boon to people like me with bad eyestrain. I think a lot of things in the country and in the world have deteriorated even more since that post, but I’m now subscribed to audible.com and have a wealth of books read to me via my mp3 player. How’s that for luxury? And the thing that prompted this post is a new $0.99 iPad app called Digits:
Notice the big numbers on the main pad. Another boon for my poor old eyes. But the thing that makes it special to me is the record of my calculations on the left. If I do any lengthy calculations I usually use an Excel spreadsheet so I can check to make sure I’ve put the correct numbers in. This little app means I don’t have to fire up Excel.
Also, if I want to reuse a number I simply highlight it and pull it over into my new calculation. This is handy when I calculate the gross receipts tax on items we’re replacing using our insurance from the fire. I also expect it to be useful in a couple of months when I work on the income tax.
Yes, I know. I do get excited by little things. And I know such enthusiasm isn’t cool. So it’s nice — thanks to The Thundering Herd — to have some kindred spirits in the world:
Oh, boy. Oh, boy. A walk. A walk.
Come on, kid, we walk all the time. Act like you have done this before.
No, I think I’ll stick with being uncool. How about you?
January 6th, 2013 — Lifelong Learning
I’ve learned a lot the past few days. The new monitor I had ordered—an Apple 27″ Cinema Display— came Friday, so I spent some time reviewing how to unhook and rehook cables, etc. Then I learned the new monitor doesn’t have any better resolution than my old one when I use my Macbook Pro (which I use as a desktop in my study). Who would have guessed? The display of the new monitor is spectacular with our with our desktop Mac Pro, so we’re using it there.
Then Kaitlin sent the above picture of Sammy and Montana with her new bandage. Montana injured a pad before Christmas and it’s been slow to heal correctly. I finally had the sense to ask, why, if it’s a foot pad, is the bandage on her leg? It turns out dogs have carpal pads, presumably used to help them stop when they’re running. I didn’t know that!
Right front paw of dog showing A) claw, B) digital pads, C) metacarpal pad, D) dew claw, E) carpal pad.
Finally, I decided it was time to recycle my old Dell desktop computer. It’s over eight years old and I haven’t used it in about four. It turns out Dell makes it easy to recycle–just fill out a form with the Service (ID) Tag, print out a FedEx label, box up the computer and call FedEx to pick it up. That meant taking out my hard drive for security—easy to do thanks to the internet—and then (my choice) disassembling the hard drive so I can render it useless. That’s taking quite a bit of time but it’s interesting and I’m learning a lot.
Inside of the computer.
The hard drive..
Anyway, that’s how I’ve been amusing myself. What have you been doing for fun?
The Thundering Herd. Used with permission.
The Thundering Herd spent the holiday at the beach. The human dad enjoyed the scenery and Cheoah immersed herself in other things.
I think of Cheoah as a kindred spirit. Scenery is fine as long as it doesn’t keep me from immersing myself in my projects. Well, truth to tell, my projects don’t usually involve my butt in the air and my head in the ground, but immersion it is nonetheless.
And I spend a lot of time digging for information. As I’m writing this I’m also chatting online with a Verizon representative to see if we can get Andy a cell phone that works up on the land. His old one can’t get reception there, and the workmen had problems with their phones too. We’re checking to see if a new one would be more powerful.
I also spent the morning doing research on satellite internet plans, and they all seem to
suck be less than satisfactory. So at the moment we don’t have either cell phone service or internet up there. As a consequence I’ve spent the past few days planning how to set up my study so it will work for occasional visits at least. On a nice day the scenery up there is beautiful, so it’s well worth some effort.
Are you a project person too? What are your favorite ways of spending your time?
Last Thursday in a comment at Transforming Stress Dixie said she values wisdom. Some of my top values would be curiosity, creativity and resilience. The above cartoon is my version of one I saw in the New Yorker about 50 years ago, and it still tickles me every time I think of it. It keeps this pessimist cheerful.
What about you? What qualities do you admire most?
Nulla dies sine linea is Latin for “No day without a line.” It’s a phrase that over the centuries has inspired countless painters and writers to practice their craft every day. The idea resonates with me because I’ve never been achievement oriented, but I do love learning new things and developing skills. I’m more interested in practicing, practicing, practicing than I am in reaching goals. A lot of people think that’s a dull way to live—people like me tend to be called nerds or geeks—but it enriches my life. What do you think?