January 03, 2010

Resolved

Back in the day, when I was young and foolish, I used to make resolutions every New Year’s Eve. I’d give up swearing or eating refined sugar or losing my temper. But I lived in a house full of kids and cats, so that kind of resolution was patently ridiculous. I’d break every resolution within the first week.

By the time I was forty, I had decided to accept my vices as part of my charming personality. My stubbornness is “persistence.” The way I scream when a cat pees on the carpet is “colorful language.” It’s all about marketing. It’s also the privilege of getting older: once you’re past forty, people will just shrug and say, “Oh, that’s how she is.”

So instead of resolutions, I try to find something new to learn each year. I figure that focusing on learning something new will keep me out of trouble. That’s the logic of kindergarten teachers everywhere, and I figure what works for five-year-olds can work for me.

Since all the cool bloggers are doing decade-long retrospectives, I figured I’d look back ten years to see what new things I’ve learned. They include:

Becoming vegan.
Learning reiki.
Learning to downhill ski.
Learning to belly dance.
Starting a blog.
A two-week white water rafting trip.
Learning to snowboard.
Taking a photograph every day for a year.
Learning to play Ultimate.
Practicing meditation.

I’m not particularly good at most of these things – in fact, I’m only adequate at some of them – but that’s not the point. Learning as an adult is harder than learning as child, but that’s what makes it more valuable. My parents have been good role models for this kind of thing. My father took up the clarinet when he was in his early fifties, and taught himself the saxophone when he was 55. Both were in their 70s when they first used a computer and just last year, they learned how to use a cell phone. Their willingness to learn new things is one of the things that has kept them close to their grandchildren (that, and the fact that my mother is a terrific cook who often invites them over for delicious meals.)

During the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about what I want to learn this coming year. “Do you think I could learn to play the piano?” I asked my kids. All four play, and they’re all clearly talented. “Do you think I’d be any good at it?”

Boy in Black looked up from his laptop computer. “It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re good at it, so long as you enjoy it.”

He’s right, of course. So that’s my plan for 2010: I’m going to learn how to play the piano.

23 comments:

bsouth said...

I think I would like to learn how to have a more positive attitude.

Good luck with the piano.

I may steal your idea of learning something new every year. 2008 was cake decorating, 2009 was how to use an epipen. Maybe 2010 should be which fights to have with my children and when to let it go!

Byrde said...

I too am quite taken with the idea of learning something new every year.
Good luck with the piano and thanks for the idea.

halloweenlover said...

Oh, I love this idea! I think you'll be an excellent piano player, and if Boy and Black can remember that thought throughout his life, he'll be a successful and happy man indeed.

kathy a. said...

oh, much better than a resolution!

my husband bought a cornet a few months ago. he loves music and has always encouraged our kids, but never had a music lesson in his life. santa brought him some cornet lessons. [i was really excited that our music shop not only found a cornet teacher right away, but he has adult students!]

Tie-Dye Brother-in-law said...

“It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re good at it, so long as you enjoy it.”

The same goes for singing...

jo(e) said...

Tie-Dye Brother-in-law: Exactly!

Tie-Dye Brother-in-law said...

Of course, you can't play the piano while driving the car, when the kids have no way of escaping... :-)

landismom said...

Awesome idea!

Brigindo said...

How very cool. I've been reading so any blog posts on resolutions, themes and "words for the year" but none of them have fit. I've been thinking that in the post-40 world I kinda like who I am and don't feel a huge need to make monumental changes. However, learning something new each year, that's something I can really get into. I'll have to think on this a bit.

jodi said...

You will enjoy it. Piano is exact. You know if you make a mistake or not and you don't have to guess where the note is (like violin etc.).

We (husband and I) are going to learn German this year.

Digger said...

I love this! I took piano lessons for years as a kid, but wouldn't consider myself a piano player. I now believe that learning to play an instrument is not the same as taking lessons. Enjoy it!

Karin said...

That is awesome! Good for you!

I do know how to play the piano, but I'm not at all good at it. Part of the reason for that is that it seems pointless to me to even try when I have this professional piano/keyboard player husband around to play for me. But, you've inspired me to at least try to get back into practice. If I'm going to expect my daughter to take lessons, I should set a good example! :)

My goals this year (I'd rather call them goals than resolutions) is to get the house organized (and then keep it so) and to do some kind of cardio workout every day or as often as possible. Now I'll add the practicing piano into that. ;)

liz said...

YAY!

Kris said...

You go, Jo(e)!

Lomagirl said...

Great plan. I don't like resolutions myself- tend to think about them more on my birthday than New Year's, actually. Your focus on adding something positive rather than removing something negative reminds me of my lenten resolutions.
Enjoy the piano- maybe you can make a goal of a virtual concert for all us blog readers by December?

skatey katie said...

i just turned forty this year. and am suddenly not into resos either.
love your piano idea X

Sarah Sometimes said...

And I have been thinking of "going back" to the piano, so maybe we can be doing this together...

Lorianne said...

You're SO RIGHT about turning forty: I'm loving it.

Sue said...

SO much better than silly resolutions! I decided to join our choir last year - not because I sing well, but because I like to sing. It's been so much fun I've wondered why I didn't do it sooner.

Yankee, Transferred said...

You slay me.

Rev Dr Mom said...

I love this!

So are you going to take lessons? or can your kids teach you?

I would so do this too....if I had a piano :(

Terminal Degree said...

Boy in Black is right on the money on this one.

Have FUN!

Jennifer said...

Sounds great, go for it. I had a prof once who said: "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly." I've always loved that little twist on it.