My 2012 'To Learn' List
Patsy Lawson | Jan 4, 2012, 11:38 a.m.
My mother lived by many superstitions, but the one I remember most vividly was her belief that a man must be the first person to enter your house on New Year’s Day. Superstition said if a woman was the first person to enter your house on New Year’s Day you would have bad luck all year, so a few days before New Year’s Day, Mama called neighbors and relatives to make certain that some male came to visit our house early on New Year’s morning. I also remember her sending Daddy to Aunt Ruby’s so he would be the first visitor.
Mama paid little attention to New Year’s resolutions because she never believed in change of any kind. To make a resolution would mean something had to change, and she preferred that things not change. She cooked the same foods, wore the same style of clothes, did not arrange her furniture, followed the same routine day in and day out and wore the same spectacle frames for 30 years or more. However, she did understand the necessity to change the lenses.
Aunt Ruby loved change! She was thrilled to have new routines, new clothes, and she arranged her furniture seasonally. Her cooking was as changeable as the weather, but it was always burned. She could not stand doing the same thing over and over, and she often called Mama “boring” because she never changed anything. Aunt Ruby had dozens of New Year’s resolutions each year and never kept any of them longer than two days. For years, I have known that I “took after” Aunt Ruby.
I don’t necessarily make New Year’s resolutions, but I do commit myself each year to learning new things. After watching how Mama’s and Aunt Ruby’s lives turned out, I came to believe that living well meant you had to keep up with the times or you would end up as old and obsolete as Mama’s spectacle frames. My list could be called, “Things I Want to Learn This Coming Year.” I see way too many people become unconnected from life by choice because they are scared of change. Eventually, they become frightened by life because they cannot function effectively in it. The rules and machines have changed, and they haven’t adapted. Some of these folks are even quite young, barely past middle age.
Here’s my “Things I Want to Learn in 2012”:
• Learn how to use, download and enjoy tablet technology
• Learn new ways to market myself and my products
• Explore new menus and original eateries. I’m done with chain restaurants.
• Meet more diverse people and learn to converse with them.
• Get to know more people in their 30s, 40s and 50s; they know lots of neat stuff.
• Learn how to dress younger. Throw out most of my closet.
• Get my hairdresser to create a much younger-looking hairstyle for me.
• Learn how Medicare works and how to navigate it.
• And, the newest one of all – learn how to be a grandma to my first grandchild.
I believe this list will keep me quite busy. I’m not sure if I will achieve each of these, but they will get a committed, honest try and – more than anything else – I think I will be a better person for having tried to achieve these things. At the very least I won’t be stagnating. As the Indigo Girls’ song says, “We are all better off for all that we let in.”
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