I had the pleasure of wishing a colleague good luck on his retirement. He has forty years in with the company and is retiring at the end of the month. He made some kind of self deprecating joke about not being good for anything any more and being put out to pasture.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. This man has been a key player on his team at work. He not only got twice as much work done as any of his peers, he also anticipated tasks that were going to arise before management or his peers. even knew there was a need for them. He is a consummate engineer.
I answered that it wasn’t that he was being put out to pasture but rather that he was taking an opportunity to get some of the things that he has been wanting to do some day done. He admitted to having an automotive project that has been sitting in his garage for fifteen years. Then he hinted that he might be back as a consultant in a little while.
I understand his situation. I have stories and tutorials to write, music to compose, instruments to master, and a family that needs more attention than they have been getting lately. I want to record music, make videos, write programs, paint pictures, and write poetry. I want to learn to sing. I have a good ear but no vocal training, at least none since I was fifteen in high school choir.
I read an article today that said that learning like a child can help keep your brain younger, They haven’t made any assertions yet, only published their research and mused about what it might indicate. In particular, they are talking about learning lots of general skills as opposed. to specialized, expert skills like we have traditionally expected older people to focus their attention on cultivating.
It turns out that the broader, open minded, learning skills outside of one’s comfort zone type of learning actually stimulated brain elasticity. Once it had been pointed out to me, I could see that this was true in my case anyway. It left me thinking about what other general skills that I wanted. to add to my repertory in the interest of keeping my mind in shape.
So it seems I am doomed to a lifetime full of learning new skills and challenging my comfort zone. Well you can throw me into that briar patch. That’s where I was born and raised and I had no intention of doing anything else, even if I read ten articles that said it was bad for me.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.