As my daughter graduates this week I’ve reflected on the importance of life long learning. I hope I’ve instilled in her by not only rote, but practice and by example that you can reinvent yourself along the way throughout this journey called life.
As an introvert by nature I spend a LOT of time by myself. You can only have so many conversations with yourself before you start to run out of material. Therefore, I spent the first half of my life reading constantly. I learned so much about the world around me. I explored foods, worlds and ideas in theory but I really didn’t experience much in practice. Always afraid to step outside of my box.
I kept busy through out my daughter’s childhood. Shuffling her to dance, skating and shooting events across five states. We made sure we took advantage of all we could fit in on those trips and therefore we have a great repertoire of most major cities and some off the beaten path haunts and holes in walls that I am grateful for.
However once she became a teen and was able to shuffle herself to some of those events, and a number of them were in repetitive venues boredom set in. Suddenly I wasn’t so occupied researching what cool roadside attraction, state park or historic bar was along the way. I began to realize that I needed to push myself out there more to experience more.
I declared 2016 the year of ME. I did things I never would have done previously. Uncomfortable un-introverted things. And I discovered that I liked learning HOW to do new things, not just ABOUT new things.
Which brings me to my new accomplishments this week. I’ve been dabbling in jewelry making, and metal smith techniques for just under a year. I’ve been gathering tools and supplies here and there as I find a need for them. Early on I acquired a small butane torch. That allowed mem with much frustration, to enter the world of soldering very small things. Eventually I graduated to a bigger butane torch which allowed a few bigger projects. Then I ran out of solder, and supplies and well, life got in the way. My attentions turned to electro-forming with the emergence of spring due to the abundance of organic matter which is my main inspiration for that art form.
As I was wandering, as I do, yesterday I ventured out to a grain bin we use for storage and discovered a box of mismatched silver rescued from my grandmother’s house after she passed away a couple of years ago. I remember saving it as I admired the art jewelry made from estate silverware and I had it in the back of my mind that I would attempt something like that at some point in my life. Viola!
So as I hacked up a spoon for what I had in my mind as simple beaded earrings, my eyes wandered across my work bench and landed on a bezel that I had started way back last winter and then got frustrated with because my torch was inappropriate for the job. My mind wandered and I remembered that my dad had brought my Smith Little Torch back from his hijacking it after Christmas (his gift to me). Suddenly I had a plan for the day. One bezeled amethyst ring later (and three attempts, the first one I melted the amethyst!) and I was addicted to playing with fire.
So then this happened. I know it doesn’t look like much now. But once I buff out the marks from the pliers where I man handled it and run it through the tumbler I’m convinced it will be a marvelous pendant. My first soldered silver piece. Lessons I learned from this mad dash down inspiration lane are that I need to slow down. Think ahead. Plan out steps. Finish each step before diving head long in to the next. But isn’t that what all this is about? Learning along the way? The point is, I got carried away by the sheer joy of learning. The hours completely ran by me and I totally neglected my plans for the day of cleaning out flower beds and making rhubarb pie and soda with the bounty from the garden. The sheer joy of creating turned out to be a fountain of youth in the sense that I was enjoying the process more than the outcome which is what we as adults tend to neglect.
Have you discovered any later in life hobbies? Do you practice them with enthusiasm or just something to fill the hours? If you don’t have a hobby yet, do you have a burning interest in something and are just waiting to find the time to pursue the knowledge? I think this is what amazes me most, having the time to practice all the ideas I’ve been collecting over the past forty years. I never considered myself creative. Now that I’ve got the time to putter I realize I just didn’t have the time to be creative!
Until next week. I’ll be relaxing and practicing my inner goddess while I enjoy my evening wine in a vintage glass I found with the stash of silver in the grain bin.