Never Too Late, by Carole Howard

I already know how to read. And write. I can ride a bike, speak French, drive a manual transmission, knit, and a whole host of other things. You do too, of course, though your list will differ from mine.

The rub is, though, that I learned all those things a long time ago. When you’re young, you learn things all the time, but when you’re not so young and not in school, you know a lot but you don’t learn as constantly or as much. (And it’s not because you know everything!) Yes, you learn practical things like shutting down a recalcitrant computer or where to put jumper cables after you left the interior light on overnight.  But that’s different.

I was lamenting – okay, maybe I was whining a tiny bit – about how I miss learning.  A friend asked me the obvious question, “Well, Carole, what kinds of things would you be interested in learning?” In other words, “Put up or shut up.” And I knew right away. Calculus, which had defeated me in college, even though I’d been a math whiz in high school. Or maybe music theory, which I’d never learned, even though I play the violin.

The next obvious question: “What’s keeping you from learning them now?” Second verse, same as the first: “Put up or shut up.”

As it turns out, a friend also wanted to learn music theory and she knew someone who could teach us. So Marilyn and I have a one-hour weekly lesson, with homework in between. I even got school supplies: manuscript paper, a binder, a nice dark pencil.

1395164645My brain is moving in ways it hasn’t moved for a while. It’s difficult. It’s wonderful. It takes concentration and focus. It’s tiring. It’s stimulating. It’s very cerebral, and there’s actually a lot of math involved, too. It’s like traveling: being exposed to something you hadn’t experienced before.

This is not the same as a bucket list. It’s not a place I want to go or a particular experience I want to have. It’s the learning that’s important. And thrilling, even more than the actual content. I highly recommend it. So I ask you the question my friend asked me: What would you like to learn?  And are you at the “Put up or Shut-Up” point?

*     *     *

Carole Howard is the author of Deadly Adagio, a murder mystery with a musical undertone, set in Senegal, West Africa.   She loves music theory and plans to love calculus next.


Filed under music, musings, writing

11 responses to “Never Too Late, by Carole Howard

  1. Good for you, Carole! I applaud you. I am also one who is passionate about learning new things. As a child, I think I was too busy trying to survive, but as an adult, I hunger for knowledge, but in nothing specific. I’m not an expert in anything, but I know a little about a lot of things and that’s appealing to me. In fact, I try to learn something new everyday. Sometimes it involves problem solving, sometimes a locale, or about what makes people tick–anything that crops up during that day. Having a passion for learning makes me feel relevant to this day and age. Excuse me, back to research. 🙂

  2. Thanks, Coco. And good for you, too! Learning something new every day is quite an accomplishment.

  3. I have a lot of respect for you, choosing to learn – an opting in on homework at that! Bravo!

  4. Paul J. Stam

    Yes, it is the thrill of the doing, not the end result that is really rewarding. Keep learning and Aloha. – pjs/

  5. As a lifelong learner I’m definitely a “put up,” I think that’s why I’ve always enjoyed creating lesson plans even more than the actual teaching part. Good for you!

  6. Music theory. … now there’s a thought. I taught myself to write the melody lines to my songs, but now I’ve forgotten it all while my son has learned more than I every knew.

  7. Pingback: That Silent ‘e’ Speaks Volumes | carolejhoward

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