Lessons learned

Unless we’re in school or someone asks us where or when we learnt something, it’s not something we pay a lot of attention to when it actually happens. After a mistake has been made or a horrible experience has been struggled through, we come out the other end and if there is a second to sit and ponder, we often look back to see what good thing we got out of it. I witnessed one of my kittens, Saga, learn something today. She was sitting elevated on my lap and watched as her brother was chasing after a cat-toy I got them. (Most of it anyway, turns out the blood-thirsty little things have chewed off half the tail!) As she watched, her eyes started going more and more to where the wire was attached to the rod in my hand. Then they’d go back to where her brother was playing with the mouse-part of the toy, only to travel up to the wire and back to my hand. When she got down to play after, she played slower and gentler than she has done before. It was as if she had understood this toy did not have a life of its own, it was only manipulated by me for their benefit. Sure, she still looked like she was having fun, but she did not come close to the ninja-like efforts she has played with before when she couldn’t be sure the movements were cause by me. So today’s post is going to be about learning.

 

The little fuzzy smart-ass herself!

In School

This is the most obvious place to learn. After all, it’s been created for that purpose. Once upon a time education was reserved for specific people; priests so they could read Latin well, then these priests passed it on to noble-men, then the rich, and somewhere along the line someone figured it was time for everyone. Not without a struggle. For the longest time keeping the poor and the worker illiterate was necessary to make the common man stay out of the rich or powerful man’s business. We wouldn’t want people to find out about their personal rights or laws now would we? It is hard to imagine a time when the ability to read was not important. When adding numbers higher than two and two together wasn’t all that relevant. When knowing what the capital of a neighbouring country was called was more of a random fact than a necessary one. Now I never went to school as a kid, I was home-schooled, with the good and bad that that sort of learning brings. However I’m the most dedicated student in my class-room now. The innumerable frustrations that I am beset by each day – an incompetent, addle-brained, stubborn teacher, disinterested and immature class-mates, a mess of a lesson-plan – drive me crazy. Never has learning been such a bother. But I can say that the special kind of satisfaction I get when the teacher hands me my test back and it has a huge “A – Very Good!” scribbled at the top corner, that satisfaction I can’t really compare to anything else 🙂

Friends and mentors

The knowledge you receive when someone decides they want to share a past experience or some special skill they have with you is impossible to match. It is information freely given, greedily taken, and I love learning this way. When someone shares something they consider relevant with me it makes me feel special and cared for. They are both letting me in on something that they will not share with everyone they meet, and expressing an interest in my well-being. Throughout the years I have been blessed with many such people. Daniel, Jessica and Tilda, Sarah, Sierra, Dave – oh Guru Dave! – Gerard, Minh, Phil and so many more. If I didn’t have these people in my life I don’t know where I would be now to be honest. I rely heavily on other the good advice of others, but only ever on the good advice of the people I respect the most. Good thing I am surrounded by people with brains.

Trial and error

This happens so often in life – especially the error part – that we have coined a term for it. No wonder. Few species have tried so many things and made so many ridiculous mistakes as the Homo Sapiens. People such as myself use this method a lot. I am in a place now when I am practising “Listen first, do after”. I have not been in that place for a long time. One specific event was the famous “Bannerman park pool” incident, during which I went swimming with a bunch of lovely and equally stupid people – you know who you are :p – in a public pool after closing hours, sneaking in through a whole that had been cut in the fence. When the cops eventually did come and I had blood trickling down my leg from a decently sized gash bestowed by aforementioned fence, I realised that was something I didn’t want to do again. Sure, I have a good laugh telling the story, but the memory of the night is still a wee bit more tragical than comical and I learned my lesson. If I ever forget I have a nice long scar to remind me.

Relationships

The things you learn when in a relationship you can’t learn in any other way. Whenever I am in such a one, I learn things about myself that I had never even considered. You get a full-time course in the person whom you are dating and they hopefully try to learn something about you too. You learn what you want in life and what you don’t want, you learn how to make compromises, how to make promises and break them, how to apologise, how to feel like shit and how to feel larger than life and truly amazing. You learn a little more about who you are and who you want to be each day, what you can live with and what you can’t live without. You learn how to lose yourself, your dignity, your limitations and your heart. You learn how to trust and love unconditionally, and then fall down from the top of the mountain. It’s just important to remember that you can always get back up again. You might say “but what if you broke your bones?” Bones heal and there are crutches and gauze. Relationships are the ultimate learning experience in my eyes.

What’s an experience that you learnt something important from? Who has been a good friend/mentor in your life whose advice you will always remember?

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10 thoughts on “Lessons learned

  1. See what happens when you let the serfs read and write? Pretty soon they’re all at it, and before you know where you are, the world is overrun with intelligent people and you start to feel as though you’re not quite as clever as you thought you were.
    The rate at which your writing is improving is terrifying for those of us who try to make a living from it… And your writing made the rest of us look stupid to begin with! Think what you could accomplish if you actually wrote MORE OFTEN!
    OK, you know it wouldn’t be a James comment if I didn’t nag you about your writing. It’s sort of a tradition. Like Christmas or… perhaps more accurately, those really annoying Xmas songs that they start playing on the radio in October!

    I wish I learned as fast as you do where pain is concerned. When it comes to those mistakes which cause actual physical injuries… I learn about as fast as a pigeon, and it is nothing short of a miracle that I’m still alive.

    I like the mountain analogy… I recently had a similar revelation, although it occurs that the biggest mountains aren’t climbed in a single day. A lot of planning, and equipment goes into those sorts of expiditions… not to mention an awful lot of huddling in tents to keep warm.

    Write more… write often… please don’t learn anymore, because I’m starting to worry that with any more knowledge you will become supreme overlord of the universe, and then I have to learn “Take the children, but please let me live!” in Swedish; when the second age of the Vikings comes and breaks down my door.

  2. I think I learn something new everyday, life never stops teaching me things. Also, I think I’ve learned more from trial and error than I have from any friend or relationship. If I mess something up, I will never do it again. Thats how I roll, though its a hard way to learn lessons sometimes, and can be embarrassing.

    School hasn’t taught me much, but I’m a poor student. Friendships have probably taught me a lot, but I feel like I’m usually the one dispensing advice and lessons, not receiving them (and I’m usually too stubborn and proud to listen if I am on the receiving end). Relationships have pretty much just taught me how to fight tooth and nail for what I want in life. Dave has definitely given me the most plentiful and helpful advice over the years – back in high school we were going to make a book of all his “words of wisdom”. I wonder how insane that collection would be if we were to write it today.

    By the way, I miss you, and your kitty is so beautiful ❤ I wish I could snuggle her.

  3. Hah, I know what you mean with the trial and error thing 🙂 Though sadly I’ve noticed I have to make the same mistake twice to not make it again :p I don’t know why I don’t learn the first time, the undying optimist in me??

    If the book ever happens… let me know. I think everyone would be deeply happy to have a book of Dave-wisdom in their house. And maybe stick some recipes in there. Like “Sierra-has-come-home-from-a-long-day-at-work sandwich” or “How to enjoy peanut-butter the most”. 🙂

    I miss you more. And Sarah. I think now is the time when we absolutely neeeed to have a Skype-date! Though first I have to find some kind of mic. The beautiful kitty and her brother managed to chew through the cord to my old one. *sigh*
    Super-love!

    1. We should have been writing down everything Dave has said. His best lesson (for me) was to live your life with meaning!

      Skype date as soon as you get a mic! Name the day and we’ll figure out the time difference! I love you so much beautiful girl, I wish for your happiness every single day.

      P.S. Maybe the book is on its way back to me? ♥

      1. It’s not too late to write a book with the stuff Dave says, make sure you always have paper and pen around when you see him and have at it :p If I was there we could make it a team effort!!! Oh Sierrabean had her birthday, though I guess she was studying for all of it, I hope you manage to get in some special girlsy-times though! I’m going to write you a mail now, because I noticed my answer was getting too long 🙂 Hugs! ❤

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