Monday, January 11, 2010

Learning New Things

by Kelley Lindberg

I didn’t list “learn new things” as one of my New Year’s resolutions. I really didn’t. My brain is full enough as it is, and I worry that if I learn something new, it will shove something old and important out the back door, like my phone number or my son’s name or the words to that old Kansas song.

But here I am, eleven days into the new year, and I’ve managed to learn a whole bunch of new things. For example, my son got a Wii for Christmas, and I got myself the Wii Fit Plus game. So I’ve been learning that my body is in terrible shape. I’ve learned about muscles in strange places that can become sore, even though it doesn’t seem like they’re doing anything. I’ve learned that my right side is way wobblier than my left side. I’ve learned that the animated Wii personal trainer who’s teaching me how to do yoga sports an ugly streak of sarcasm, despite his boyish good looks.

But my physical inadequacies aren’t the only things I’ve learned this year. I’ve learned that the only way I’m going to get my cookbook sold is to send it to publishers who might be interested in publishing it. Hmm. That’s kind of a novel thought. So I’ve started doing just that.

I’ve learned a bunch of new ways to cook things in the last eleven days, because I’m re-energized about my cookbook and about cooking in general now. My family keeps looking shocked as we sit down to the table and they discover yet a new creation. So far, my experiments been turning out really well. So I’m shocked, too.

Speaking of experiments, I’ve learned that nothing ruins a 5th grade science fair experiment measuring which bird feeder the backyard birds prefer than a marauding hawk that attacks and eats a hapless finch on the back fence a few days before the experiment starts, and scares every bird away from the neighborhood for weeks. But because of that, my son and I have learned a few interesting lessons about recovering from experiments gone awry, so that’s been okay, too.

I’ve learned that when all your friends go on diets, it’s hard to go to breakfast with them because they talk about how much weight they’ve lost and they order things like cottage cheese. So then I eat less, too. And that’s a good thing.

I’ve learned that I can prepare a new presentation to give to a group of writers with just a few hours’ notice, and that I no longer get nervous before a presentation. That’s a good thing, because I have several presentations coming up in the next few weeks. And I’ve learned that I’m glad I can be a last-minute “Help! My speaker canceled. What are you doing tonight?” kind of person.

And I’ve learned that the older my son gets, the more loving he gets. I don’t know… maybe he made a New Year’s resolution to hug his mom more, or maybe he’s just delirious with joy over getting a new Wii, but I’ve been adoring the extra attention no matter what the reason.

So here I am, learning new things despite every intention. Enjoying new things. Welcoming new things.

I may be an old dog, but these new tricks aren’t as bad as I thought. And guess what? I still know all the words to that old Kansas song. “Carry on my wayward…” no, wait. How does that go again?

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