One thing that rattles me most of the time is this desire to learn something, then spending time to learn it but never applying it. For example I would attend a PT continuing ed on Manual Therapy and sure I’d learn Manual Therapy right there, and imbued with desire to make use of it on patients, I go back to my workplace to....well.... never apply it because it is unnecessary or contraindicated to most of them. Why would you apply Manual Therapy on a recent heart attack patient? So years go by and I forget the whole skill.
This is usually the predicament of people like me who are over-curious about anything and everything yet don’t have sufficient time to indulge in them. What do I do in this case? I try to enjoy the learning while at it. Then I move on, learn other more interesting things, and (this is important) : document what I learned. Documentation is important in a hobby like computer programming and skills like Manual Therapy. Without documenting, everything is forgotten after days, weeks, months and years.
There is so much to learn that keeping abreast or becoming an expert on anything is almost impossible. I feel like living in an Attention Deficit world. Knowledge and information come and go so swiftly that by the time you understood the basics of one thing, another thing springs up somewhere. Wasn’t it wonderful when intellect was new and primitive? When Plato and Socrates had all the time to contemplate about everything around them? Heck, this modern world provides no chance to do that. You work, check emails, facebook, twitter, prepare for work, eat, work, back to gadgets and social networking, watch news, keep up with TV shows, keep up with reading, exercise and by the time you’re done, it is time to sleep to wake up and repeat the whole thing the following day.
I was just talking with my friend about this earlier. I said, people like me can never succeed in our endeavors because we need to work to survive. Gone are the days when amateur artisans got ‘sponsors’, today we call them grants but these are meant for the ones deemed ‘qualified’. I can never be qualified as an artist or scholar or specialist. Heck no. I am always at the beginner’s level. I guess the only solution to that is to be happy doing what I do and define it as a hobby. I don’t want to take hobbies too seriously because that is what they are - hobbies. These are meant to pass the time productively, usually to keep one’s mind occupied, at peace and happy. And that is what my computer programming is all about, my blogging, my reading and exercising.
Life after 50 should no longer be a life of searching. At this age, one must already know his place under the sun, to pursue what he thinks he can realistically accomplish and abandon the ones he cannot. Grappling with things that he likes to do but are too difficult or time consuming to ‘specialize’ in them should be categorized are hobbies. And people have all sorts of hobbies. A hobby however can become destructive when it consumes the person, I know that feeling. An old man still dreaming of writing the greatest poem or novel of all time; an elderly working on a painting that will become a masterpiece someday; a man in his 50s looking for a first marathon win, are examples, and I am not saying those lofty goals are impossible, but know the impact of effort and stress and fatigue that such endeavors entail. Sure you can - if you have the best of health -- pursue any goal but for the majority of humanity, that particular goal for a hobby could mean self-destruction. I say chill out, lower your expectations. You might still accomplish what you want to accomplish but don’t kill yourself over it. That is me talking without the voice of encouragement and motivation and inspiration but I am erring towards the side of realism. There are things we have to accept.
So this is the way it goes as we mature. We enjoy whatever we can enjoy, be good if we can, be great if possible but at the end of the day, we want to live our lives the most natural and graceful way. And be happy.