Below is the text of an article I wrote a couple of years ago, detailing my journey in self-education. At 60 years old now, I’m still learning, still trying to push myself past my comfort level. Why, do you ask, when I could be rocking on my front porch and reading a juicy novel? Because every time I learn, every time I accomplish something I was sure I couldn’t do – every single time, I grow as a person.
My self-esteem grows, not in a proud way, but with a quiet assurance that I can face what the future brings me. My confidence grows, so the next time it’s a little easier for me to take on a challenge. And my sense of self-worth grows – even though I’m old in many people’s eyes, I can still contribute a lot to this here world of ours. My hope is that you too, no matter what your age, will realize what a special person you are, and keep growing too.
Now the article. I hope you enjoy it:
First of all, a bit of background: A high school dropout, stay-at-home mom until the age of 40, I wasn’t too motivated to learn. Then I read the following quote: “Old Bureaucrat, my comrade, it is not you who are to blame. No one ever helped you to escape.… Nobody grasped you by the shoulder while there was still time. Now the clay of which you were shaped has dried and hardened, and naught in you will ever awaken the sleeping musician, the poet, the astronomer that possibly inhabited you in the beginning.” (Antoine de Saint Exupery)
I didn’t want it to be too late, so I finished high school, then took a full-time computer course, and finally business courses. My desire to learn and my self- confidence grew with each step forward.
I love using computers and realize that the more you learn, the more there is to learn. So I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane:
- My first computer had no hard drive, but I still thought it was pretty neat.
- The first time using an online encyclopedia – we were amazed to see pictures of birds and animals, and actually hear their sounds.
- The first time we connected to the Internet – hearing someone’s voice and responding by standing in front of the monitor and yelling into it.
- The first family newsletter, complete with clip art and three columns, written faithfully every week for almost a year and sent to my family.
- My first emails to my daughter, so much easier than trying to think of a long letter. Instead, I could send a line or two as things happened. Emails back and forth, to keep for future generations.
- My first chat using a webcam; watching my grand-daughter lift her new puppy up for me to see.
- My first multiple chat, trying to talk to daughter and granddaughter in two different cities at the same time and trying not to get confused.
- My first time opening up a computer, with the aid of my sidekick mother, and adding a CD rewritable drive. Learning that you should always note where the screws came from or there will be one leftover.
So many firsts, especially mistakes, too many of those to count. I learned:
- not to pull the plug out of the monitor end or you will have to buy a new monitor.
- not to fiddle with your monitor settings too much or you may not see anything.
- not to continue without saving your work every so often, unless you enjoy panic attacks.
- not to select public chatting on MSN, unless you want to see a strange man’s face on your screen saying hello to you, just before you quickly turn it off.
- not to buy more software until you at least try the last one out first.
- not to let your grandchildren print in colour as much as they like.
- not to expect that your computer will always do what you want. It often has a mind of its own.
- not to sit for hours in front of the computer without a break. No more meals at the desk.
- And above all, not to ever, ever think you won’t learn to tame that machine. No matter who you are, or how old you are, it’s never too late 2 learn!